Slaughter without pre-stunning

The practice of slaughter without pre-stunning can cause suffering to millions of farm animals.

Current law requires animals to be stunned before slaughter - rendering them insensible to pain until death supervenes. However, exemptions are allowed that permit non-stun slaughter for religious purposes, i.e. Muslim and Jewish communities. 

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. There doesn't need to be a ban on the meat that is important to some religious communities to ensure animal welfare is considered.

Food Standards Agency (FSA) figures

The latest FSA figures, published in February 2019, show an estimate of 94 million animals were slaughtered without pre-stunning in 2018:

  • 90.8 million meat chickens (9.7 percent of total slaughtered)
  • 3 .1 million sheep (25 percent of total slaughtered)
  • 22 thousand cattle (1.1 percent of total slaughtered)

None of the UK governments within the UK have a legal requirement to ensure all animals are stunned before slaughter. However all animals currently slaughtered in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are stunned before slaughter.

Religious slaughter

  • In the UK, 58 percent of Halal meat comes from animals which have been stunned before slaughter and certified Halal. 
  • All animals slaughtered under the Shechita (for Kosher) are non-stunned.

To find out more about non stun slaughter, see our briefing Improving the welfare of farm animals at the time of their death (PDF 972KB).

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