Our response to the following article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17966327
There are several points that needs to be corrected/clarified in the article:
1. To put into context: there are many activities conducted during the normal farm practices such as castration, tail-docking, ear-taging, debeaking, etc. that are often done directly on animals. When done right these do meet scientific animal welfare standards, it is also clear that any pain remains with the animal longer than that with religious slaughter and may in some cases, e.g., hot iron branding, be more painful.
2. Mixing/Interchanging the terms of Halal and non-stun is damaging when FSA clearly stated that the majority of Halal is pre-stunned. Earlier in the article FSA estimated total non-stun slaughter as 3% of cattle, 10% of sheep/goats and 4% of poultry. Later Prof Reilly mixes the terms.
3. Prof Reilly again was quoted as saying ‘Halal meat now accounted for 25% of the entire UK meat market’. This is scare-mongering by
(i) being factually incorrect. Entire meat market means pork, chicken, beef & lamb. We know lamb is by far the smallest volume and the EBLEX Halal survey stated that ‘Muslims account for about 20% of lamb consumption in this country’.
No beef amounts were specified but it was a ‘small but increasing amount’. Thus the amount of Halal meat as a % of the entire UK meat market is a significantly small amount.
(ii) using statistics to imply a bigger ‘issue’ by guiding the reader to subliminally interchange the terms Halal and non-stun per point 2.
4. The article seemed to imply that it was ‘Anecdotal evidence suggested that almost half of all lambs destined for slaughter were killed without prior stunning’. This is poor judgement and exaggeration and is not backed by anything from research.
5. Non-stun concerns should be identified on a species specific and not on a general basis i.e. cattle primarily rather than sheep/poultry.
The issues with poultry are very different from that for mammals. Even sheep and cattle have very different anatomical bleeding issues.