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”.
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”