Daily Mail

Welfare labels on meat to say how animal was killed

New law in works after campaign on halal and kosher livestock that isn’t stunned first

- By Helena Horton

HALAL and kosher meat will have to be labelled in a victory for animal welfare campaigner­s.

As part of the proposed law, all meat will have to be marked with how the animal was killed.

Animals slaughtere­d to be compliant with kosher and halal rules are often killed without being stunned first and have their throats slit.

At the moment, it is not compulsory to label meat as halal, so campaigner­s have argued that those who eat the products and care about animal welfare should be able to make the choice to buy meat killed in a more humane way.

The Bill is currently in the early stages and is the subject of a public consultati­on. But ministers have privately said they aim to bring in the law – and that it is supported by the majority of the British public.

Victoria Prentis, minister for farming, fisheries and food, said: ‘As a nation, we care enormously about animal welfare and increasing­ly about environmen­tal standards.

‘Consumer informatio­n and labelling are part of the toolbox that we have when it comes to creating a better food system for people and the planet. It is something that we will be considerin­g in detail with industry and stakeholde­rs in the weeks and months ahead.’

The Conservati­ve Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF), which the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson has long been a patron of, has been calling for this policy change for years.

Lorraine Platt, chairman of CAWF and a friend of Mrs Johnson, welcomed the news: ‘With the exception of whole eggs, there are currently no legal requiremen­ts to label products with informatio­n on how the animal was reared and slaughtere­d.

‘But the fact is the British public do care about these conditions – over 80 per cent of UK consumers are in favour of food labelling.

‘Where labelling does currently exist, consumers have been able to identify higher welfare products and subsequent­ly many farmers have been rewarded with increased demand. It is our hope that through extending labelling to all farmed produce, we can help the growth of higher welfare farms in the UK.’

MPs have also been calling for the change. Sir Roger Gale said: ‘Brexit has presented us with the opportunit­y to reform our farming systems.

‘Transparen­cy with consumers must be at the heart of these reforms and implementi­ng labelling for animal welfare represents a critical step forward. In doing so we can empower consumers to make informed decisions about which farming systems they want to support – or avoid supporting.

‘There is an overwhelmi­ng democratic mandate for such a move, with around eight in ten British consumers stating animal welfare is an important considerat­ion for them when shopping.’

Under new laws, there will also be stricter animal welfare labelling requiremen­ts – with how the animal was reared and cared for prominentl­y displayed on the packaging.

This is part of a raft of legislatio­n under the Animal Welfare Bill including plans to ban

‘Empower to make informed decisions’

‘Creating better food systems’

boiling lobsters alive and outlawing the sale and import of ‘cruel’ animal products such as fur and foie gras.

Halal meat is worth around £2.6billion a year in the UK, according to the Agricultur­e and Horticultu­re Developmen­t Board (AHDB).

It accounts for around 20 per cent of all lamb and mutton sold, despite Muslims only comprising around 5 per cent of the population.

This is because ‘halal consumers eat more meat per capita than the general population’, says the AHDB.

About 42 per cent of all halal meat is not stunned before slaughter, according to the Food Standards Agency.

Slaughter of kosher livestock – the method is known as shechita – is a small percentage of all animals killed accounting for only 0.5 per cent of all cattle, 0.1 per cent of sheep, 0.3 per cent of chickens.

 ??  ?? Display: A halal meat counter at a Birmingham Tesco
Display: A halal meat counter at a Birmingham Tesco

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