• Welfare concerns

    All animals should be effectively stunned before slaughter, and transported and handled in a way that minimises stress

    Welfare concerns
  • Stunning

    Slaughter without pre-stunning inflicts unnecessary pain, suffering and distress on animals

    Stunning
  • The law

    The law requires effective stunning before slaughter in the EU, but has exemptions for certain communities. Act now

    The law

Humane Slaughter

Compassion in World Farming believes that suffering at slaughter can be avoided, provided certain basic principles are met: 

  • The transport and handling of the animal prior to slaughter minimises stress
  • Death is instantaneous, or
  • The animal is instantaneously stunned and remains unconscious until dead
  • The method of inducing unconsciousness and death is not in itself likely to cause stress

The law requires all animals in the EU to be effectively stunned before slaughter. However, exceptions are made which permit some religious communities to slaughter without pre-stunning. This applies to slaughter by the Jewish method (Shechita) or by the Muslim method (Halal).

Compassion believes there should be no exemptions, and the law should be changed to require all animals to be effectively stunned before slaughter, regardless of the slaughter method that is then used. We also believe that all slaughterhouses should have CCTV installed.

Halal slaughter

A considerable proportion, more than 80%, of sheep and cattle slaughtered under the Halal method in the UK are effectively stunned. 

A similar proportion of chickens slaughtered under the Halal method are also reported to be ‘stunned’.

However, it has recently come to light that Halal stunning of chickens is not effective, and in practice it only serves to immobilise and not render them unconscious. This is cruel and in breach of the law. On 19th May 2014 the Government  U-turned on the implementation of rules that could have ensured the law is enforced.

What we are doing

Compassion believes the current situation is completely unacceptable and is demanding action be taken immediately. We are calling on the Government to close any loopholes that permit slaughter without effective stunning, and to ensure that in the meantime all meat from animals who have been slaughtered with effective stunning is labelled. On the Halal chicken issue we are insisting that stunning must meet EU legislation requirements and render the chicken unconscious before slaughter. 

  • We are lobbying Defra hard, through every channel, including upcoming meetings.
  • We are considering a formal complaint to the European Commission about the lack of enforcement of the law in the UK
  • We are in dialogue with the Food Standards Agency and the Halal Food Authority
  • We are working with Food Businesses to look at their supply chains

What you can do

  • At ‘Gadhimai’ Festival in Nepal, the world’s biggest farm animal sacrifice, hundreds of thousands of farm animals are due to be inhumanely slaughtered this November. 

    Take action and tell the Nepalese Government that the terrible Gadhimai slaughter festival must never happen again.

    Take action
  • Please join us in demanding humane slaughter for all animals. Compassion is backing a petition started by the British Veterinary Association which is calling for all animals to be pre-stunned before slaughter to render them insensible to pain until death. When this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

    Sign the petition
  • The following schemes/product lines use meat from animals which are stunned to kill (i.e. death is instantaneous), or ensure the animal remains unconscious until it dies.

    • Soil Association Organic
    • RSPCA Freedom Food
    • Waitrose (on all their own brand chicken meat and products)

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