For too long, large numbers of animals in Britain have been killed in a way that causes immense suffering but which is within the law. It’s simply not acceptable that animals should be forced to endure the pain, fear and distress of slaughter while they are fully conscious at this, the most vulnerable time in their lives.
Within the current legal framework, it is hard to protect the welfare of animals at the time of killing. There simply are not enough caring eyes watching out for the animals. Discussion of this issue often focuses on religion, when the central question should be how to improve animal welfare. All the while, animals continue to suffer. But the time has come for this to change.
Although some progress has been made - such as the Government's introduction of legislation requiring CCTV in all slaughterhouses in England - there are two vital areas that still require action to reduce the suffering of farm animals:
- An end to ineffective-stun and non-stun slaughter
When animals are slaughtered without pre-stunning, they suffer the full pain and fear of having their throats cut. At the moment millions of animals are also stunned in a way that immobilises them but leaves them able to feel pain and fear. No animal should spend its last moments in agony. In line with this, we are calling for the law to be strengthened to ensure all animals are stunned, and all stunning is effective.
- Method of slaughter labelling
Until such a time as slaughter without pre-stunning is stopped, consumers should be able to easily identify the way any animal was slaughtered. All meat packaging should carry a clear label that states whether an animal was ‘stunned’ or ‘not stunned’. The current derogation from the law requiring pre-stunning at slaughter says that slaughter without stunning should only be for meat consumed by the religious groups that require it. It is not possible to implement such a rule without clear labelling.