The proposal has been backed by the UK welfare charity the RSPCA and, if passed, will require all meat and poultry products from non-pre-stunned animals to be labelled as such, which has caused an outcry from the UK’s halal sector.
The RSPCA is calling for supporters to contact their MEPs in support of the proposal and head of the RSPCA’s farm animal science department, Dr Julia Wrathall, said: “We would rather see all animals pre-stunned before they are killed, however we believe labelling that clearly differentiates between animals that have been stunned or non-pre-stunned is still a step in the right direction.
“We believe all meat produced from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter should be clearly labelled in some way, so that it can be identified by consumers. Consumers have the right to choose whether or not they wish to buy meat from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning,” she added.
However, members of the UK halal industry have demanded to know why the labelling proposals should apply to religious slaughter only, dismissing the RSPCA’s claim to recognise the need to respect religious views.
Mohammad Amir, CEO of Assure IP and a halal certifier, argued that chickens are normally slaughtered at nine weeks, and said the bleeding time of 90 seconds is merely a fraction of its overall life.
He added: “Animal welfare scientists unanimously agree that not all stunning methods provide the same level of welfare. If consumers have the right to know that their meat was religiously slaughtered, then they should also know which method of stunning was used for non-religiously slaughtered meat and which method of stunning the RSPCA recommends over others.”