Religious slaughter and food chain

FVE appreciates the initiative of the European Commission to propose a new proposal for a draft Regulation on non-commercial movement of companion animals. Especially we also welcome that the European Commission is further developing legislation with regard to companion animals, animals which are cherished and valued by many European citizens.

Background and legislation EU law requires farm animals to be stunned before slaughter. However, there is an exception for religious slaughter. Meat from animals slaughtered without stunning (through the Shechita method and some Halal methods) currently enters the mainstream food chain without being labelled, leaving consumers without their right to make an informed choice on animal welfare grounds.

Currently slaughter without prior stunning has been banned in Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Sweden and a ban is currently under judicial review in New Zealand. Finland, Denmark and Austria require stunning immediately after the incision if the animal has not been stunned before.

Although some religious slaughter practices do not allow pre-stunning, others do. For example all of the lamb imported to the UK from New Zealand is Halal but it has also been pre-stunned.