As you may know, both UK and EU law requires animals to be stunned before slaughter but makes an exemption for religious slaughter carried out in accordance with traditional religious practices by members of the Jewish and Muslim communities. I understand that animal welfare organisations including the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming and the British Veterinary Association have expressed some concerns about the animal welfare implications of non-stun slaughter. These are strongly contested by Jewish and Muslim groups who point out that their practices also take account of animal welfare.

It is important to appreciate that religious communities are concerned with animal welfare and the UK has strict national rules aimed at reducing stress and providing protection for animals slaughtered in accordance with religious rites. In addition, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 places a requirement on abattoir operators not to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal. The Government has no plans to ban religious slaughter. I agree it would not be appropriate to implement a ban

At present there are no requirements to include information on the method of slaughter on meat labelling, however any information provided voluntarily must be accurate and not be misleading to the consumer.

Labour recently consulted on its Animal Welfare Plan, which included a proposal to support the mandatory labelling of domestic and imported meat, including details on country of origin, method of production and method of slaughter (stun or non-stun). I understand the Government is currently considering options on labelling.

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