Following the UK Government’s Call for Evidence on Animal Welfare Labelling going live today, Shechita UK has issued the following statement:
Shimon Cohen, Director of Shechita UK commented: “The Government has published its long-awaited food Labelling for Animal Welfare, Call for Evidence. This is another plank in the Government’s need to create its own Animal Welfare legislation, post-Brexit. Shechita UK fully supports the concept that consumers have every right to know what they are eating, where their food comes from, that it meets required standards, and if they so require, as Jews do, how their meat was prepared.
However, it is extremely important that any label is honest and non-discriminatory, as if this was not the case it could lead to an inadvertent deception of the consumer and an affront to faith communities. With regards to slaughter, one dimensional labelling such as ‘stunned’ or ‘non-stunned’ would be innately pejorative and misleading to the consumer. It would advance the myth that mechanical, industrialised stunning is an all-encompassing, animal welfare panacea. It is not. Mechanical stunning methods which include captive bolt devices, firearm with free projectile, electrical stunning, electrical waterbath stunning and asphyxiation by gas all cause pain and distress to the animal. They also frequently go wrong, leaving the animal in even greater, prolonged agony. If true consumer information is the goal, then comprehensive labelling that denotes the specific method of slaughter used needs to be provided. Shechita UK will be submitting to the consultation and remains confident that the Government will work with faith communities on this policy as well as once again stating their commitment to the protection of religious slaughter as this process progresses.”