British Veterinary Association Accused of Seeking to Mislead Consumers

Nov 4, 2014

Representatives of the Jewish community have accused The British Veterinary Association of obfuscating the need for proper labelling of meat slaughtered according to a religious method in order to mislead consumers.

In a press release sent out to coincide with a Parliamentary debate on religious slaughter, the BVA reports that nine out of ten of its members believe that consumers should be better informed about slaughter methods.

BVA President John Blackwell is quoted as saying, “We believe labelling that clearly explains the method of slaughter would help all consumers make informed choices about the products they wish to buy.”

Yet Jewish community representatives believe that this sentiment is disingenuous unless the BVA are prepared to comprehensively label all methods of stunning and slaughter.

Shimon Cohen campaign director of Shechita UK, which campaigns on behalf of the Jewish community for the right to carry out religious slaughter, commented, “The BVA would have consumers believe that mechanical stunning is some kind of glorious panacea of animal welfare. That is why they continue to promote a rudimentary and incomplete approach to labelling. Consumers have a right to know if their meat was asphyxiated by gas, electrocuted, shot with a steel bolt gun or indeed mistuned, leaving the animal in terrible distress.”

The debate this morning in Westminster follows a report by the All Party Group on Beef and Lamb which concludes that there is not enough reliable data to determine whether avoidable pain is experienced by an animal slaughtered according to religious methods and calls for further research to be done. Yet the BVA and others continue to campaign as though this is the foremost animal welfare concern in the country today.

Mr Cohen added, “We call upon the BVA to end this obfuscation by supporting genuinely comprehensive labelling and to focus on the countless animal welfare concerns that plague conventional industrialised abattoirs across the UK rather than the handful that carry out religious slaughter to the highest standards.”