We have given our support to an HM Government petition, launched by the British Veterinary Association

Broiler chicken © RSPCA

The petition calls on the government to bring an end to non-stun slaughter.

Scientific evidence shows that slaughter without pre-stunning causes unnecessary suffering to millions of farm animals each year in the UK.

We have long been opposed to this method of slaughter. Until it is brought to an end, we believe compulsory method of slaughter labelling should be introduced. So consumers to make an informed choice about the meat they buy.

RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said:

“We are supporting the BVA’s petition calling for an end to slaughter without pre-stunning because it is a practice that can cause suffering to millions of farm animals in the UK.


“We recognise that religious belief and practices should be respected but we also believe that animals should be slaughtered in the most humane way possible.


“Non-stun slaughter can result in the animals experiencing very significant pain and distress. That is why we feel more needs to be done to end this suffering.”

Over 80 per cent of Halal slaughter is pre-stunned in the UK

More than 900 million farm animals are slaughtered for meat in the UK every year. The vast majority are pre-stunned before slaughter to render them unconscious until death supervenes.

European and UK legislation requires all animals to be pre-stunned before slaughter. However, exemptions are allowed which permit non-stun slaughter for religious purposes e.g. for Muslim and Jewish communities.

It is important to note that over 80 per cent of Halal slaughter, the method used by the Muslim religion, is pre-stunned in the UK.

The latest survey results by the Food Standards Agency, from 2011, showed the number of animals slaughtered every year in the UK:

  • more than 40 million cattle, sheep, pigs and calves,
  • around 900 million poultry.

The proportion of those not stunned before slaughter are:

  • 3 per cent of cattle,
  • 10 per cent of sheep and goats,
  • 4 per cent of poultry.

There needs to be clearer labelling

A large proportion of the meat produced in this way enters the supply chain. Shoppers are not currently being given the choice of how their meat was produced.

We hope UK governments will follow in the footsteps of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. All have introduced legislation making pre-stunning a requirement before slaughter with no exceptions.

Take action

Speak out for millions of farm animals and take action today! Sign the HM Government petition and help us bring about an end to non-stun slaughter once and for all!

Read more in our blog Calling for an end to non-stun slaughter.

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