According to Food Standards Agency (FSA) figures, more than 94m animals were slaughtered without stunning in 2018. However, the data revealed that 90,500 animals, most of which were chickens, were deemed unsuitable for religious consumption and may have been repackaged and sold.
The RSPCA and British Veterinary Association (BVA), who campaigned for the release of these figures said this was “disturbing”.
Dr Marc Cooper, head of farm animals at the RSPCA said: “We’re encouraged that these important Food Standards Agency slaughter figures have been released today, following a joint letter last week from the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association urging the UK Government to release these crucial statistics.
“The report highlights that over 94m animals were slaughtered without stunning in 2018 – that’s an average of three animals every second. The RSPCA is against any slaughter of farm animals without stunning as the scientific evidence, and the view from the UK Government’s own advisors, concludes this practice can cause unnecessary suffering.
“What is particularly disturbing is that 90,000 of the 2.9m non-stunned animals slaughtered for kosher certified meat were rejected as being ‘unfit for religious consumption’. We are concerned that this meat could be entering the conventional market unlabelled.”
End to non-stun slaughter
The RSPCA also repeated its call for an end to non-stun slaughter. “The RSPCA has been calling for an end to non-stun slaughter for many years, as it seriously compromises animal welfare. Our concern does not relate to the expression of religious belief but the welfare of animals.
“We need to follow the lead of other countries that have successfully banned non-stun slaughter: Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark, and more recently, the Flanders region of Belgium.
We have seen how some countries such as New Zealand, have a vibrant export trade in stunned meat to Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Saudi Arabia showing that trade need not be barrier to better protection of farm animals.”