Vets raise con­cerns over non-stun an­i­mal slaugh­ter ex­ports

Food Stan­dards Agency fig­ures show 3 mil­lion an­i­mals are not stunned be­fore slaugh­ter

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FARMING - Gemma macken­zie

Vets have raised con­cerns over the lack of in­for­ma­tion on how much meat is ex­ported from the UK from an­i­mals that have not been stunned be­fore slaugh­ter.

The Bri­tish Ve­teri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion (BVA) has long called for a ban on the slaugh­ter of an­i­mals with­out stun­ning, and it is now calling for ac­cu­rate data on meat ex­ports from an­i­mals not stunned be­fore slaugh­ter.

“Each year mil­lions of an­i­mals in the UK are not stunned be­fore slaugh­ter and BVA will con­tinue to push for an end to non-stun slaugh­ter in the in­ter­ests of an­i­mal wel­fare,” said BVA pres­i­dent John Fish­wick.

He said the lat­est Food Stan­dards Agency (FSA) fig­ures showed that 22% of sheep and goats, or 3 mil­lion an­i­mals, are not stunned be­fore slaugh­ter – up from 15%, or 2 mil­lion, in 2013.

“The lat­est FSA fig­ures sug­gest that a size­able pro­por­tion of sheep and goats that are slaugh­tered in the UK are done so with­out stun­ning and that this seems to out­strip the re­quire­ments of the re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties who con­sume meat that has been slaugh­tered in this way,” added Mr Fish­wick.

“It is dif­fi­cult to un­pick the pos­si­ble fac­tors that con­trib­ute to this mis­match but an es­sen­tial step to un­der­stand­ing this bet­ter would be to pro­vide data on how much, if any, non-stun meat is ex­ported abroad.

“With Brexit on the hori­zon and in the light of an­nounce­ments about ex­port deals with non-eu coun­tries, there is a press­ing need for clar­ity on the quan­ti­ties and des­ti­na­tions of ex­ports of non­stun meat.”

Mr Fish­wick said other EU coun­tries have mea­sures in place to limit the ex­port of non-stun meat. Ger­many, for ex­am­ple, re­quires abat­toirs to ap­ply for a li­cence by defin­ing the num­ber of an­i­mals to un­dergo non-stun slaugh­ter to meet lo­cal de­mand only.

Mr Fish­wick added: “While not il­le­gal, if meat from non-stun re­li­gious slaugh­ter is ex­ported we con­sider this to be out­side the spirit of the leg­is­la­tion which al­lows non-stun as a dero­ga­tion from the law to meet the needs of re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties.”

He said the BVA was con­cerned that new trade deals, in­clud­ing one to ex­port lamb to Saudi Ara­bia, could re­sult in an in­crease in the amount of Bri­tish lambs slaugh­tered with­out be­ing stunned first.

There is a press­ing need for clar­ity on the quan­ti­ties and des­ti­na­tions of ex­ports of non-stun meat.

Bri­tish Ve­teri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent John Fish­wick has called for a ban on slaugh­ter of an­i­mals with­out stun­ning.

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