Slaughterhouses: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ban the non-stun slaughter of animals; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

The Government encourages the highest standards of animal welfare and would prefer all animals to be stunned before slaughter, but respects the rights of Jews and Muslims to eat meat prepared in accordance with their beliefs.

The European Council Regulation 1099/2009, on the protection of animals at the time of killing sets out the main requirements for slaughter including a requirement that all animals are stunned by a permitted method before slaughter. The EU Regulation includes a derogation from stunning for religious slaughter but also allows individual Member States to impose stricter national rules for religious slaughter. In England, The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 (WATOK) enforce the EU requirements and contain stricter national rules that apply when animals are slaughtered by either the Jewish or Muslim method.

The Government is committed to maintaining a derogation from stunning for religious slaughter in our domestic legislation once we leave the EU.

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