UK - The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has expressed its concern that almost two-thirds of food companies have no information on their commitment to stunning animals before slaughter – with only four per cent having a “universal commitment”.
The findings were published in the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare report (BBFAW, published 27 January) and also show that slaughter without pre-stunning is the only welfare measure showing a decline in the percentage of food companies that have a specific policy on the practice, down from 34 per cent in 2014 to 32 per cent in 2015.
BVA has run a long-standing and high profile campaign to end non-stun slaughter in the UK, with a public petition in 2015 gaining 120,000 signatures.
BVA, together with all leading farm animal welfare organisations, believes that all animals should be stunned before slaughter to render them insensible to pain. Scientific evidence supports the use of pre-stunning to safeguard animal welfare. In 2015, two-thirds of BVA members listed the issue as one of their top priorities for government.
BVA President Sean Wensley said: “Vets and the public are united in their concern about animal welfare at slaughter. There are several positive findings on the growing commitment of food companies towards farm animal welfare in the BBFAW report, which we welcome, but the report highlights a disappointing lack of commitment towards animal welfare at the time of slaughter. The European Commission’s study of 13,500 meat consumers across Europe found that 72 per cent wanted information about the stunning of animals at slaughter. Food companies need to sit up and take consumers’ concerns about humane slaughter seriously. People want to be assured that farmed animals receive both a good life and a humane death.”
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