Shechita UK ‘confident’ over government’s possible food labelling reforms
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Shechita UK ‘confident’ over government’s possible food labelling reforms

The UK needs to create its own animal welfare legislation following the decision to exit the European Union.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Shechita UK has welcomed the government’s announcement of a consultation process over possible food labelling reforms for animal welfare reasons, saying it is “confident” the concerns of faith communities will be respected.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed on Monday that it would launch a Call for Evidence on Animal Welfare Labelling lasting for 12 weeks until Monday 6 December.

The government needs to create its own animal welfare legislation following the decision to exit the European Union.

Defra said it wanted to listen to views, including that of Schechita UK, about possible reforms to food labelling for animal welfare – with the aim of understanding of how this might impact business, farmers, and consumers.

The department said it would listen views on which welfare standards could form the basis of a possible food label for animal welfare, and what the label might look like. It also confirmed that it was looking for information on the potential scope, regulation, and enforcement of such a labelling scheme.

Responding to the announcement Shechita UK’s director Shimon Cohen said the organisation “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.  ”

But Cohen added: “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.”

Defra added there will be a wider review of food labelling as part of the UK Government’s Food Strategy White Paper, where there may be a need for public consultation in 2022.

For now, it was  looking for some preliminary evidence with regards to how labelling for animal welfare may align with wider labelling reform, including nutrition and eco-labelling.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments