RSPCA Cymru and the British Veterinary Association have again joined forces to renew their calls to repeal legal exemptions that permit animals to be slaughtered without pre-stunning, causing unnecessary pain and suffering.

The organisations want to see changes to legislation in Wales which currently allows non-stun slaughter for religious purposes.

However – it has also been described as “hugely encouraging and reassuring” that no non-stun slaughter is practiced currently in Wales. This was confirmed by the Welsh Government in November.

An RSPCA and BVA petition calling for a ban has gathered 8,600 signatures to date, and supporters can make a stand against non-stun slaughter by adding their name online.

This petition calls on the Welsh Government to take action to stop farmed animals being slaughtered while fully conscious.

Renewed calls for a ban follow a recent, high profile decision to end the slaughter of animals without prior stunning in the Flanders region of Belgium – a move which came into force at the start of the year. They join several other European countries, including Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark in making this decision.

Calls have also been made in Wales for CCTV to be made compulsory in abattoirs, protecting animals from possible mistreatment and slaughterhouse staff from potentially unfounded allegations of abuse.

The Welsh Government recently announced a £1.1million Food Business Investment of grant aid, available for small and medium size slaughterhouses in Wales covering “welfare friendly infrastructure and facilities” along with the “installation and upgrading of CCTV monitoring systems”.

In the absence of a ban, RSPCA Cymru and BVA also want meat to be labelled with the method of slaughter, e.g. stunned or non-stunned, so consumers are fully informed about the meat that they are buying.

Claire Lawson, RSPCA Cymru assistant director of external relations, said: “The RSPCA is opposed to non-stun slaughter, and we continue to call for an end to the practice as it seriously compromises animal welfare.

“Our concern does not relate to the expression of religious belief but the welfare of animals.

“It is hugely encouraging and reassuring that the Welsh Government confirmed in November that no non-stun slaughter is currently practised in Wales.

“However, an outright ban on this practice would make a clear statement that Wales will not tolerate the pain and suffering which slaughter without prior stunning causes to farm animals.”

BVA President Simon Doherty added: “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.

“If slaughter without stunning continues to be permitted in Wales, then meat and fish from this source must be clearly labelled, to help customers make informed choices about the food that they buy and eat.”

More information about the campaign can be found online. Supporters can also show their support via the hashtag #EndNonStun or #StunB4Slaughter on social media.