Jewish groups paid tribute to the nature of a parliamentary debate on religious slaughter this week, after Jewish, Muslim and Christian MPs defended the practice.
The Westminster Hall debate was called by Neil Parish MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beef and Lamb, who has called for CCTV to be installed in all slaughterhouses and for all meat to be labelled.
Shadow Farming Minister Huw Irranca Davies MP said any labelling system should be fair and informative
Parish acknowledged “a deficit in our veterinary understanding of the shechita (Jewish) method of slaughter” but referenced a recent report showing similar levels of blood retention in both stun and non-stun slaughter methods.
The Jewish authors of that report said: “If ritual slaughter not only causes levels of avoidable pain and distress to meat animals…but also fails in its stated purpose of removing as much blood as possible, compared with other methods, then it becomes more difficult to justify and defend.”
Hailing Tuesday’s debate, Shechita UK director Shimon Cohen said: “In many years campaigning I can’t remember a debate where the Jewish community’s perspective was so well represented.”
Cohen was less impressed with the British Veterinary Association, however, with the organisation accused of “obfuscating the need for proper labelling… in order to mislead consumers.”
It follows a BVA report that nine out of ten of its members believe that consumers should be better informed about slaughter methods.
BVA President John Blackwell said: “We believe labelling that clearly explains the method of slaughter would help all consumers make informed choices about the products they wish to buy.”