Roger Salmon column

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, said that the traditional practice of slitting animal’s throats and allowing them to bleed to death for halal and kosher meat caused unnecessary suffering.

He said that animals suffered as a result of religious slaughter.

“They will feel the cut. They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck.

“They will perceive the aspiration of blood they breath in before they loose consciousness.”

The sensation of blood in the trachea is like the pain when food goes down the wrong way into your windpipe, he said.

“When you check the lungs of these animals there is clearly blood that has been aspirated.

“People say we are trying to focus on the last five or six seconds of an animal’s life when it could be eighteen months old.

“It’s five or six seconds too long”.

The intervention by Mr Blackwell will increase pressure on ministers to act against religious slaughter.

Pressure for a ban on slaughter without stunning is led by charities such as Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA.

Most animals killed for halal in Britain are stunned before slaughter but no creatures killed for kosher meat are stunned.

Mr Blackwell urged Jews and Muslims to allow poultry, sheep and cattle to be stunned unconscious before they are killed.

If the two faiths refuse, he wants ministers to consider following the example of Denmark by banning the slaughter of animals that have not been stunned 

A large proportion of meat from animals killed by kosher and halal slaughterers goes unlabelled into the general food market, so the EC are considering a scheme to identify meat from animals slaughtered without stunning as many people would be horrified to think they are eating meat produced by the ritual slaughter of un stunned animals.