RSPCA calls for a ban on exporting non-stunned meat from the UK
There has been a reduction in the number of animals slaughtered without stunning but sadly the proportion of those being exported to other countries is on the rise.
The RSPCA is calling for a ban on exporting non-stunned meat from the UK as the latest Food Standards Agency figures show the proportion of exports of animals that aren't stunned is going up.
The FSA figures released this week show there's been a significant reduction in the number of animals slaughtered without pre-stunning from a predicted 94 million in 2018 to 25.4 million in 2022.
David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA, said:
We're pleased that the numbers of animals slaughtered without pre-stunning have dropped significantly since figures were last released four years ago.
However, it's concerning to see that, based on predictions, nearly half a million animals are slaughtered without stunning every single week. We've long campaigned to bring an end to non-stun slaughter as a change in the law would make an enormous difference to the welfare of millions of farmed animals.
We acknowledge that religious beliefs and practices should be respected. However, all animals should be treated humanely at the time of killing and therefore be stunned prior to slaughter, as not doing so seriously compromises their welfare.
We'd also like to see a ban on exporting non-stunned meat from the UK which we believe breaks the tenet if not the wording in our slaughter legislation.
It's worrying to see that, according to the FSA figures, we're still exporting the equivalent of 800,000 sheep that have not been stunned despite the law only giving an exemption for this if it's for the local religious community. Countries like New Zealand have shown you can have a vibrant export trade in stunned meat for overseas religious communities and we expect the UK to follow their example.
The RSPCA is now calling on the UK and Welsh Governments to ensure the export of non-stunned meat is banned and long called for an end to non-stun slaughter altogether.