E-petition to end non-stun slaughter hits 100,000 as FSA figures show increase in non-stun
29 January 2015
The Government e-petition launched by
the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and supported by the RSPCA calling for
the end of non-stun slaughter to improve animal welfare at the time of death passed
its goal of 100,000 signatures today. The news comes on the day that the Food
Standards Agency (FSA) Animal Welfare Survey of Slaughterhouses in Great
Britain reveals an increase in non-stun slaughter.
BVA’s campaign calls for the end to
slaughter without pre-stunning for all animals as scientific evidence shows
that non-stun slaughter allows animals to perceive pain and compromises animal
The milestone of reaching 100,000
signatures is a significant step towards ending non-stun slaughter and shows
the strong public backing for the aims of the campaign, the total being reached
two months before the e-petition deadline ( 30th March 2015) and
with only a handful of e-petitions (0.1%) achieving 100,000 signatures.
The FSA Survey figures were based
on assessments by Official Veterinarians (OVs) during the week of 16 to 22
September 2013 to provide a representative sample of welfare practices at 232
red meat slaughterhouses. The survey results released today show:
- 31% increase (from 279 to 366) in the number of
cattle not stunned before slaughter for Halal compared with the FSA’s 2011
- The figures also showed an increase of 56% (from
28,734 to 44,950) of sheep and goats not stunned before slaughter for
- The figures revealed a small drop of 1.7% in the
number of poultry not stunned before slaughter for Halal from 582,776 to
- There was a decrease in Kosher (Shechita or non
stunned slaughter) in cattle from 1314 to 475 (-66%), in sheep and goats from
1917 to 601 (-68%) and poultry from 71,236 to 21,716 (-69%).
The results indicate that overall
the number of animals non-stunned prior to slaughter in Great Britain accounted
for 2% of cattle, 15% of sheep and goats, and 3% of poultry.
The subject of the e-petition will
now be considered by the Backbench Business Committee for a debate in the House
of Commons. BVA believes that the success of the e-petition and the results of
the FSA’s Welfare Survey increases the pressure on the Government to rethink
its position on non-stun. It also calls on the Chairman of the Backbench Business
Committee to honour the e-petition and hold a House of Commons debate in the
next Parliament at the first opportunity.
People can still register their
support for the campaign by adding their signature to the e-petition until 30th
March, when the e-petition will close.
BVA notes that more than 80% of
Halal meat is stunned before slaughter. BVA’s concern does not relate to
religious belief but to the animal welfare compromise of non-stun slaughter.
BVA President John Blackwell 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.”
David Bowles, RSPCA Head of Public Affairs said:
“It is no surprise that this petition has exceeded 100,000 signatures in just
nine months. There is growing public concern about the welfare of farm animals
and people believe animals should be treated as humanely as possible throughout
their lives, including at the time of slaughter.
“Animal welfare science and practical experience indicate that cutting animals’
throats while they are fully conscious can cause significant pain and distress.
There should be no exemption under the law to allow non-stun slaughter and we
urge politicians to take action on this important issue.”
The e-petition is online can be signed and accessed here. Only 0.1% or 35 out of 32,059 e-petitions managed to
reach the target of 100,000 signatures.
2013 Foods Standards Agency animal welfare survey in Great Britain found that
in September 2013:
25% of Halal cattle slaughter was not pre-stunned; 1% was post-cut stunned
18% of Halal poultry slaughter was not pre-stunned; none was post-cut stunned
37% of Halal sheep/goat slaughter was not pre-stunned
100% of Shechita slaughter of cattle, poultry and sheep/goats was not