U.K. Lawmaker Wants Labels on Kosher, Halal Meat

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A cow in a feeding shed. Credit: Dreamstime

Meat sold in British grocery stores should be labeled to indicate whether the animal was stunned before being slaughtered according to religious ritual practice, a lawmaker has said.

Neil Parish, a Conservative MP, has been investigating kosher and halal slaughter practices, according to the Jewish Chronicle. Parish has been on a mission to persuade Jewish and Muslim Britons to stun animals before slaughter so as to limit their suffering.

Parish is seeking to discuss the possibility of kosher and halal slaughterers stunning the animal post-cut, the Jewish Chronicle reported, adding that such a request is likely to encounter strong opposition from kosher authorities.

Parish raised his concerns during a debate in Parliament. He said that labels on meat should focus on whether the animal had been stunned or not, as opposed to whether the meat was kosher or halal.

"The whole crux of it is to bring about more animals to be stunned at slaughter and we are really trying to seek from the Jewish and Muslim communities ways in which we can stun more animals at slaughter," Parish said, according to the International Business Times. "I would also like just a clear label saying this meat has been stunned at slaughter or not stunned at slaughter."

The issue of religious ritual slaughter is also the subject of a recent online petition launched by the British Veterinary Association (BVA), calling for an end to slaughter without pre-stunning for all animals. It had garnered 77,742 signatures by Tuesday.

The veterinary association released a survey that showed 94 percent of British vets believe consumers should be better informed about slaughter methods, while 93 percent of vets said they would not buy meat from animals that were not stunned.

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