Every animal slaughtered in the UK must be unconscious throughout the killing process. They must by law remain like this until death.
In 2012 Scotland for Animals revealed that meat from unstunned animals was being sold illegally throughout the UK.
Under current legislation there are exceptions for some religious groups which are allowed to kill animals that are fully conscious while knifed and bled to death.
The legislation, however, stipulates that any product resulting from animals killed under this exemption must be solely for the consumption of these religious groups.
This meat is now throughout the general food chain and authorities are refusing to enforce the law.
Scotland for Animals opposes all slaughter. Until this ends we believe suffering should at the very least be reduced in any way possible.
While we know that all slaughter is extremely traumatic for animals, unstunned slaughter has been proven to be substantially more so.
Without stunning the animal's throat is cut and it is bled to death. It is conscious throughout this process. It can take up to 10 minutes for the animal to die.
We want all meat products connected to unstunned slaughter banned in Scotland. In the meantime:
- We ask the public to stop buying Halal and Kosher meat and animal products until full stunning is guaranteed
- We ask that Halal and Kosher meats be clearly labelled so consumers know what they are buying.
- Support Muslim and Jewish organisations and individuals who oppose unstunned slaughter
We're not alone, The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also supports this: "Until slaughter without pre-stunning is banned outright, the Scottish SPCA wishes to see all meat from animals killed in this way clearly labelled so that consumers opposed to the practice do not inadvertently purchase the product."
The Scottish Parliament has the power to ban unstunned slaughter but MSPs continue to ignore public calls for an end to the practice.
Most stockists don't advertise that they're selling Kosher or Halal meats. Despite legislation saying consumers must be given enough information to make an informed purchase, authorities do not insist upon religious slaughter products being clearly labelled.
The symbols below are sometimes used to denote religious slaughter products.
Kosher meat can be identified by this sign:
Halal meat can be identified by this sign:
Around the world many religious authorities have ruled stunning to be permissible.
- The video here filmed by our friends at Hillside Animal Sanctuary here shows the reality of unstunned slaughter in the UK.
- Stunning is the practice of making an animal unconscious before killing it to minimise the suffering. Some say that animals are stunned prior to religious slaughter. But the definition of stunning by many religious groups is not what is required in regular slaughterhouses.
- It's possible that the voltage of the stunning is so low that the animal can regain consciousness during knifing and bleeding out. In 2011 SfA exposed that deliberately ineffective stunning methods were being used in Halal slaughter in abattoirs in the UK.
- If you see the symbols above without the words "Kosher" or "Halal" this has been ruled illegal due to Scotland for Animals' campaign. We are continuing to push for yet more clear labelling of all religious slaughter products by law.
- Many shops unwittingly sell such products as the meats are mixed up at the slaughterhouse.
- It is estimated that up to two thirds of Kosher meat ends up in non-Kosher shops. This would not be the case if labelling was clearer.
WHAT WE WANT
- The removal from law of any exemptions from stunning animals.
- 'Stun-to-immobilise' or any other alleged stunning methods which don't render an animal immediately and completely unconscious until point of death to be banned and this ban enforced.
- Until then the labelling of all meat from animals slaughtered without full and effective stunning.
Don't listen to those trying to condemn you for opposing unstunned slaughter
While Scotland for animals has led the campaign to expose this huge welfare issue some other groups and organisations have refused to act.
In fact they've scrambled to sweep the issue under the carpet by accusing people who speak out against unstunned slaughter as being motivated by prejudice.
Here's what some of the biggest animal organisations in the UK have to say about the campaign to end this torture;
“The uproar over the labelling of halal meat has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with prejudice.”
“This latest outbreak of fury bears all the hallmarks of ignorance, prejudice and hypocrisy.”
“the public furore and hand-wringing over the labelling of halal meat is categorically not rooted in concern for animal welfare. Much of the noise springs from ‘ignorance at best, and both prejudice and hypocrisy at worst”
labelling of halal meat “could fuel prejudice”
Don't take any notice of them. This is a major situation which threatens to undermine hard won welfare improvements fought for over many years.
SfA warned years ago that the problem would only get worse if united action wasn't taken. It has.
The number of chickens slaughtered without stunning has jumped from 3% in 2013 to 18.5% in 2017.
In the same period the number of sheep and goats slaughtered without stunning has risen from 15% to 24.4%.
Remember, standing up against cruelty is the right thing to do. You are not a racist or a bigot, you stand shoulder to shoulder with the Muslims and Jews who support stunning to improve welfare.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Actually, you can do quite a lot! Remember doing nothing changes nothing, but actions large & small facilitate change. Your voice can help us get there quicker.
- Participate in the offical Scotland for Animals campaign petition!
- Do not buy Halal or Kosher meat or animal products until full stunning is guaranteed. They are usually found in many takeaways and sandwich bars such as Subway, Baguette Express, independent and chain curry houses, kebab shops, Tesco, Asda, etc. They and others all now stock a wide selection.
- Write to theEquality and human Rights Commission and demand that they protect the rights of those who don't want to participate in or fund unstunned slaughter.
- Write to your MP/ MSPs here.
- Ask your family, friends and contacts to get involved. Help us get more people on board to push for change.
- Help our campaign by donating. 100% of your donations go directly to fighting for animals
WHAT ABOUT FUNDING?
We desperately need funds to make this campaign effective. Please consider making an urgent donation.