Jewish groups have told MPs that they support the labelling of non-stunned meat, so long as other methods of killing animals are also labelled.
Supporters of shechita – the method of producing kosher meat and poultry allowed by Jewish law – were speaking on Tuesday at the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) roundtable discussion.
“We are encouraged that labelling discussions have now moved on to open, honest and comprehensive method of slaughter labelling,” said Shechita UK director Shimon Cohen.
“This will ensure that consumers know whether their meat has been mechanically stunned by asphyxiation by gas, Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS), electrocution by tongs or electric water-bath or shooting with a captive bolt gun into the brain – or indeed, Shechita.
Jewish representatives share their concerns with Muslim authorities, as halal meat is also produced without prior stunning, and Cohen said both groups felt that “any labelling should give the consumer a full understanding of every stage of the slaughter process”.
Earlier this month he said: “Our long-standing position has been that, if there is demand, consumers should have every right to know what they are eating, but it is neither correct nor sufficient for meat to be labelled as stunned or non-stunned.”
Cohen said it would be “dishonest to mislead the consumer into believing that mechanical stunning is some kind of therapeutic, calm, relaxing, medicinal process which gently sends the animal into a woozy state of unconsciousness”.
He added that mechanical stunning processes were “aggressive invasive actions, designed to speed up the factories’ slaughter processes, with dubious welfare claims attached”.