Following enquiries about a poll the National Secular Society is publishing regarding method of slaughter labelling for meat products, Shechita UK Campaign Director, Shimon Cohen, has issued the following statement:
“The Jewish community fully supports, and always has done, the idea that consumers have every right to know what they are eating. All kosher meat is labelled, as are all kosher food products. We have made that clear in our submission to the Government’s call to evidence on the subject that closes tomorrow (06/12).
“That this survey has been commissioned by the National Secular Society is telling, its findings are clearly agenda led and not consistent with other recent polling undertaken in a more even handed manner.
“If labelling is to be introduced, it is extremely important to distinguish between honest, even handed non-discriminatory labelling and an inadvertent deception of the consumer and an affront to faith communities. With regards to method of slaughter, one dimensional labelling such as ‘stunned’ or ‘non-stunned’ would be innately pejorative and creates a meaningless false impression, effectively setting up a hierarchical dichotomy that assumes an advanced level of consumer knowledge about the slaughter process.
“If true consumer information is the goal, then consumers need to be informed of the method of stunning at slaughter – captive bolt devices, firearm with free projectile, electrical stunning, electrical waterbath stunning, asphyxiation by gas or any of the other approved methods, including the Jewish and Muslim methods. Mechanical methods also frequently go wrong, and it is important that this is noted on the label as it could lead to prolonged pain and distress for the animal. Fully comprehensive method of slaughter labelling designed to provide information is welcomed by religious communities and animal welfare groups alike.”