Concerns over lack of figures on exports of non-stunned meat
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has raised concerns over the apparent lack of information on UK exports of meat from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter.
Latest figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) indicate that 22% of sheep and goats (three million) are not stunned before slaughter.
This is an increase over the past five years when in 2013 it was estimated 15% of sheep and goats (two million) were slaughtered without stunning.
In March of this year, Kerry McCarthy MP asked a written parliamentary question about the percentage of non-stun meat produced in the UK that is exported.
A reply from Minister of State George Eustice provided a written answer which stated that “the Department does not hold data on what percentage of meat from non-stun religious slaughter is exported.”
He confirmed that an FSA survey was carried out earlier this year, with the comment “we have not yet received the results.”
BVA believes that all animals should be stunned before slaughter and has been calling for an end to non-stun slaughter in the UK for several years.
BVA President, John Fishwick, said: “Each year millions of animals in the UK are not stunned before slaughter and BVA will continue to push for an end to non-stun slaughter in the interests of animal welfare.
“The latest FSA figures suggest that a sizeable proportion of sheep and goats that are slaughtered in the UK are done so without stunning and that this seems to outstrip the requirements of the religious communities who consume meat that has been slaughtered in this way.”
This alleged lack of information has been brought into focus by the recent Government announcement on a trade deal with Saudi Arabia that could increase the exports of British lamb and other meat, some of which may be from a non-stun before slaughter process.
BVA is calling for the provision of information on non-stun exports to ascertain the extent to which the UK is exporting meat from these sources and to suggest potential measures to ensure supply matches demand, rather than allowing it to rise above domestic requirements.