BVA non-stun petition reaches 100,000 signature goal

The British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) e-petition on calling for an end to non-stun slaughter has reached its target of 100,000 signatures, it was announced today (29 January).

Supported by the RSPCA, the BVA’s campaign is focused on ending the practice of non-stun slaughter in order to improve the welfare of the animal at the time of its death.

The e-petition was launched in April last year and the Association was keen to achieve the 100,000 signatures needed to enable a debate on the subject in the House of Commons, before the petition deadline of 30 March 2015.

The news it has reached its goal comes on the same day that the Food Standards Agency (FSA), published its Animal Welfare Survey of Slaughterhouses in Great Britain, which revealed an increased in the occurrence of non-stun slaughter.

The FSA’s data was based on assessments by Official Veterinarians (OVs), during the week of 16-22 September 2013, with the aim of providing a representative sample of welfare practices at 232 red meat slaughterhouses, and 69 white meat slaughterhouses.

According to the data there was a 31% increase – from 279 to 366 – in the number of cattle that were not stunned before slaughter, for halal meat, compared to the FSA’s 2011 Welfare Survey.

There was also an increase in the number of un-stunned sheep and goats of 56% to 44,950, while there was a 1.7% decline in the number of poultry not-stunned before slaughter, for halal consumption, to 572,429.

According to the BVA, this indicated that the overall number of animals that were slaughtered without stunning in Great Britain, accounted for 2% of cattle, 10% of sheep and goats, and 4% of poultry.

John Blackwell, president of the BVA, said: "The success of the e-petition reaching 100,000 signatures two months before the deadline shows the strength of public opinion and support for the aims of our campaign. Slaughter without stunning unnecessarily compromises animal welfare at the time of death and, as such, we call for an end to its practice.

"We urge the chairman of the Backbench Business Committee to honour the e-petition and pledge that an end to non-stun slaughter will be debated at the first opportunity in the next Parliament."

The BVA noted that more than 80% of halal meat was stunned before slaughter, and said that its concerns about non-stun slaughter were not related to religious belief, but the welfare of the animals.

The subject of the e-petition will now be considered by the Backbench Business Committee for a debate in the House of Commons.

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