Supporters of Jewish religious slaughter have accused the official journal of the British Veterinary Association of “deliberately misleading readers” over the issue.

The head of Shechita UK made the allegation in a letter sent to Vet Record editor Lord Trees this week, after being angered by his editorial, titled ‘Non-stun slaughter: the elephant in the room’ and published on 17 February.

Shimon Cohen said Trees’s comments in relation to the reasoning behind newly-mandated CCTV in abattoirs were “a deliberate attempt to mislead readers and obfuscate the matter at-hand”.

Trees argued that the cameras were there to observe legal standstill times, meaning the period for which animals who have not been stunned should be held immobile after their throat is cut.

Cohen said that, “as editor-in chief of the Vet Record and a member of the House of Lords, you are well aware” that CCTV was added “in response to an Animal Aid campaign that uncovered breaches of animal welfare in conventional abattoirs”.

The Shechita UK director also took issue with Trees’s assertion that “religious leaders have the power to end the practice of non-stun slaughter and the onus to do so should be firmly put at their door”.

Cohen said this “denigrates the significance of religious practice,” adding: “Your comment that this method is ‘archaic and insupportable’ demonstrates your lack of knowledge as to the true origins of the Jewish laws of Shechita and religious lifestyles.”