THERE IS a 'huge groundswell of support' for a ban on non-stun slaughter, vets have claimed.

In a joint effort to get the UK Government to repeal the legal exemption that permits animals to be slaughtered without pre-stunning, the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association this week highlighted the statistic that over 120 million animals were slaughtered without being stunned first in from 2017/18 – which averages more than three animals slaughtered every second.

In an open letter to Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the BVA and the RSPCA urged the UK Government to change legislation in England which currently allows non-stun slaughter for religious purposes – and provide further public transparency on this issue by releasing the comprehensive 2018 slaughter survey results, which were originally due for release Autumn 2018.

Until such legislation is in place, the RSPCA and BVA want to see meat labelled with the method of slaughter, so consumers are fully informed about what they are buying, and non-stun slaughter to only be permitted at levels that meet local religious community demand for this type of meat – with no excess for the domestic market or export.

The letter follows a recent, high profile decision to ban the slaughter of animals without prior stunning in the Flanders region of Belgium which came into force at the start of the year. Belgium joins several other European countries, including Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark in making this decision.

BVA president Simon Doherty said: “There is a huge groundswell of support for a ban on non-stun slaughter, and recent developments in Belgium show that decisive change is possible where public support is matched by political will. Michael Gove has made clear that he wants to maintain and build on the UK’s reputation as global leader on animal welfare; banning non-stun slaughter is a surefire way of showing he will deliver on this commitment."