Non-stun Slaughter of Animals — [Sir Henry Bellingham in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury 4:00 pm, 3rd April 2019

I agree entirely. My concerns are therefore completely grounded in animal welfare. This topic is just one element of a wider debate we should be having on animal welfare at slaughter, including ensuring that the existing animal welfare standards that we have in place are met. I hope that we can encourage a sensible debate on this issue.

As a nation, we are increasingly concerned with animal welfare on a broad range of issues, and rightly so. The Government have an excellent record on animal welfare, responding to demands for mandatory CCTV in slaughter houses, addressing plastics in the oceans and tackling the illegal ivory trade. Today, we had a ten-minute rule Bill on animal sentience that will impose a duty on public bodies to have due regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings when formulating or implementing policy. The Government are committed to doing that, so I ask them to consider some of the things that I am suggesting.

Consumers are rightly concerned about the quality of life of animals before slaughter, as my hon. Friend Giles Watling said. That also extends to concerns about the ending of animals’ lives, which is a concern for farmers across my constituency, who feel strongly that the animals they have carefully bred should not suffer unnecessarily in their final minutes. I therefore suggest that the Government look at banning non-stun slaughter, if they feel that the evidence points that way and that it would be appropriate. That is a position based on scientific evidence and supported by the BVA, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the Farm Animal Welfare Committee and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.