Top Curators Consider Supporting Call For Kosher And Halal Meat Labeling

Senior Tory MPs are considering backing an MP’s attempt to reduce slaughter levels of unsettled animals in the UK and introduce mandatory labeling of kosher and halal meat.

Tory MP Chris Loder plans to table an amendment later this month to the new kept animals bill, which would seek to reduce the number of animals killed for meat without first being knocked out.

Loder’s offer to change the law is popular with a growing number of MPs who have spoken out in favor of Brexit and want to use the UK’s exit from the European Union to rewrite our regulations on Brexit. meat slaughter, with particular emphasis on the non-stunned. slaughter.

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Sources told Jewish News that Environment Minister Victoria Prentis and Conservative Deputy Leader Dominic Raab were among those questioning whether to support the move.

Carrie Symonds, wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had also previously backed calls for the Conservatives to include halal and kosher meat labeling in the party’s 2019 manifesto.

A prominent communal figure admitted that she believed there was a “battle ahead” over the issue.

Publicizing his amendment at a side event hosted by the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) at last week’s Conservative conference in Manchester, MP Loder said: ‘There is one thing we have often too scared to speak.

Chris Loder speaking at the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation event at the Conservative Conference

“And that is the extent of the slaughter of unstunned animals in this country.” The member’s words were met with the approval of those in the packed room.

Loder continued, “We have an opportunity ahead to resolve this issue. I appreciate that it’s sensitive. I appreciate that people have other perspectives on this.

“But at the end of October we will have second reading of the kept animal welfare bill. This will be an opportunity for us, as members of Parliament, to discuss with the government how we can solve this problem and how we can reduce the absolutely shameful number of over 93 million non-stunning killings each year. in this country. “

He also added: “With regard to mandatory labeling, it is really important that when the consumer buys meat to eat it, he knows where it comes from. Case. And this labeling occurs as a result.

Former Foreign Minister Raab also spoke at the same side event. He told the public about his support for CAWF and called their campaigns “compassionate conservatives.”

Another speaker at the same event was Secretary of State for the Environment George Eustice.

On Tuesday, the Guardian reported that Environment Minister Prentis said there were ways to reduce the killings without stunning without compromising religious rights.

The newspaper said she said at an event on the sidelines of the Manchester conference last week: “We will have to make sure that the rights of different religions to eat the meat they want to eat are still available. But there are ways to do it so that you cut it down on command. You don’t needlessly slaughter large numbers of animals without stunning them. So we are determined if the bill is amended in the way it could have this discussion in a sensitive and mature way. “

The Guardian also said that Loder, who previously pushed the government through a private member’s bill on animal cruelty penalties, would propose an amendment to the kept animals bill that would include the need to “prove that ‘there is a religious requirement’ for the meat to be slaughtered by a method without stunning.

He said there was “active dialogue” with the government on tackling non-stunning slaughter.

In May, another Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said the government wanted to take action to reduce the number of slaughter animals killed without stunning. “There is a series of measures that we are going to take,” he told The Independent. “We want to be respectful of different religions and religious practices, but we also want to tackle what is clearly an animal welfare issue. “

Meanwhile, in another event on the sidelines of last week’s Conservative Party conference, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg defended religious slaughter after an audience member openly referred to the possibility of government introducing kosher and halal food labeling to help consumers know how the meat they were buying got killed.

Rees-Mogg told the event: “I think religious freedom is very important and I think in a world where relations between different religions can sometimes be quite sensitive – the Labor Party has had a particular problem with l anti-Semitism – we don’t want to do anything. it would appear to be directed against a particular religion.

Conservative support radio presenter Iain Dale had previously called for a “complete ban” on halal slaughter – but declined to comment on his take on kosher meat.

The Jewish method for kosher meat – shechita – requires a method of slaughter without stunning. According to practice, the animal is not stunned until its throat is slit and the blood is drained from the carcass. Religious groups in favor of the method argue that it is human.

Animal rights activists have long campaigned for an outright ban on animal welfare grounds, but the government has not included changes to non-stunning slaughter in recent welfare bills -being animals.

Shimon Cohen, campaign manager for Shechita UK, said the group had “received several assurances from the government that the shechita will be protected in the UK and is confident the government will fully consult with religious communities before further measures are taken. be announced ”.

Shimon cohen

Emma Slawinski, director of advocacy and policy at the RSPCA, said the charity was “opposed to slaughter without stunning and we are calling for an end to this practice as it seriously compromises animal welfare” .

Last month, the government announced the launch of a consultation process on possible food labeling reforms for animal welfare reasons.

Cohen from Shechita UK said that when it comes to food labeling “it is extremely important that any labeling is honest and non-discriminatory, because if this is not the case it could lead to inadvertent deception of the consumer. consumer and an affront to religious communities. “

He added: “When it comes to slaughter, one-dimensional labeling such as ‘dizzy’ or ‘not dizzy’ would be inherently derogatory and misleading to the consumer.

“It would further the myth that mechanical and industrialized stunning is a global panacea for animal welfare. It’s not. Mechanical stunning methods which include captive bolt devices, loose projectile firearms, electrical stunning, electrical stunning in a water bath, and gas asphyxiation all cause pain and distress in the patient. the animal. They also often go bad, leaving the animal in even greater and prolonged agony.

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