End non-stun slaughter for farm animals

The UK law requires animals to be stunned before slaughter, rendering them unconscious, so they don't feel pain or experience suffering and distress during the slaughter process. However, there is an exemption from this requirement that permits non-stun slaughter for religious purposes.

Number of animals slaughtered without pre-stunning


meat chickens (2.3% of total farmed)


sheep (22.6% of total farmed)


cattle (0.9% of total farmed)

Based on the latest Food Standards Agency figures estimated that 24.5 million animals were slaughtered without pre-stunning in 2022. Survey collects data from one week of the year to approximate numbers.

Why the law doesn't currently apply to all animals for slaughter

The legal exemption is to provide Halal and Kosher meat, for the Muslim and Jewish communities, respectively.

  • Around 65% of animals slaughtered in the UK for Halal are stunned first.
  • All animals slaughtered under the Shechita (for Kosher) are non-stunned

We acknowledge that religious beliefs and practices should be respected. But we must also prioritise ending animal suffering where possible. Pre-stunning animals before killing is the most humane method.

Learn more about pre-stunning and religious slaughter.

All animals should be pre-stunned first

We believe all livestock must be stunned prior to slaughter. We'd like to see a number of improvements to better protect the animals subjected to non-stun slaughter.

Improvements needed while pre-stunning remains legal

  • Adopt a non-stun permit system to track the number of animals slaughtered without prior stunning to ensure it does not exceed the relevant demand of the UK’s religious communities.
  • A ban on the export of meat from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter.
  • Clear labelling of meat and meat-products from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter.
  • Improve public procurement - public service should only obtain meat from animals stunned before slaughter. Exceptions only made at the specific request of a religious community in the UK.
  • Continue positive discussions with religious certification bodies to reduce the number of animals slaughtered without pre-stunning and promote the stunning of all animals.
  • Improve the slaughter process to limit the period of consciousness after neck cutting e.g. immediate post-cut stunning.
  • Robust and regular governmental reporting on the number of animals that have not been stunned prior to slaughter, and the amount of non-stun meat that has been exported.

Call for an end to non-stun slaughter

We're calling on the UK government to put an end to non-stun slaughter. Complete our action to make your voice heard today!

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