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European citizens want mandatory stunning before slaughter

News Section Icon Published 09/10/2020

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Today (9 October, 2020) Eurogroup for Animals released the results of an EU-wide public opinion poll on slaughter without stunning, revealing that most Europeans  want mandatory stunning for farmed animals before slaughter. The poll also reveals that more than 90% of European citizens call on the EU to preserve the right of its member states to protect animal welfare during slaughter. This sends a resounding message to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ahead of its final decision on the matter by the end of 2020.

Stricter rules to protect animal welfare standards

The current European Union law states that all animals farmed for food production must be rendered unconscious before being killed. However, exceptions are made in the context of some religious practices. These often result in animals being killed using a knife to cut their throat and bled to death while remaining fully conscious. Scientific evidence has unequivocally demonstrated such practices cause great suffering to animals. 

For this reason, some countries, including Slovenia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and two regions of Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia) adopted stricter rules with no exceptions to the mandatory stunning of animals before slaughter.

In September 2020, the Advocate General (AG) of the CJEU issued his negative opinion on the legitimacy of EU Member States to both prohibit slaughter without stunning and implement reversible stunning. This opinion will inform the CJEU's final decision which is expected by the end of 2020. 

European citizens send a clear message

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Eurogroup’s opinion poll proves that the vast majority of EU Citizens (89%) believe it should be mandatory to render animals unconscious before they are slaughtered.

Regarding the relevant EU legislation, 87% of the participants across the EU agree that the European Union should require all animals to be stunned before being slaughtered - even for religious reasons. And an astounding 92% agree that EU countries should be able to adopt additional measures to ensure higher animal welfare standards.

If the CJEU follows the AG's opinion, several EU Member States risk being forced to change their progressive laws introduced to relieve the suffering of animals at the time of slaughter, despite the positive impact these have on animals and their  national acceptance.

“Today, European citizens sent another resounding message to the EU.  They agree that stunning before slaughter should not only be mandatory, but EU countries should be allowed to implement additional measures to ensure higher animal welfare standards”, says Sean Gifford, our Global Director of Campaigns.

“Any practices that cause suffering and distress are completely unnecessary at all life stages of farmed animals, including their death”.