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BHA supports British Veterinary Association’s call for end to ritual slaughter without pre-stunning

The new President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) John Blackwell has called for ban on killing animals without pre-stunning, asking for religious methods to be adapted to take into account more humane methods of killing with regard to the welfare of the animal. The British Humanist Association, which has long called for an end to the exemptions for religious groups that allow them to slaughter animals without pre-stunning, and also calls for better labelling to make it clear to the consumer the method used in slaughter, has welcomed the call.

John Blackwell who has called for a meeting with religious groups to review the science said ‘I don’t think an outright ban is a long way off, there is enough of a view that this practice is inhumane and causes suffering at the time of death… we have tried to keep it out of the religious sphere. It is not an attack on religious faith, it is a view we have taken on animal welfare.’

Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs, commented ‘It is vital that the law covering the welfare of animals at time of slaughter is humane and aimed to reduce as far as possible the pain, suffering and distress of the animal and exemptions afforded to religious groups to allow for slaughter of animals without pre-stunning undoubtedly contradicts that principle. We have supported the recommendations of the Farm Animal Welfare Council that slaughter without pre-stunning is unacceptable and that the Government should repeal the current exemption and are pleased that the BVA are now speaking out on this issue.’

‘There is no reason why this Government cannot work with the religious communities concerned to seek ways of slaughtering animals in accordance with religious rules but that require that animals are properly stunned before they are slaughtered so as to minimise pain and distress. Bans on slaughter without pre-stunning have worked well in other countries without harming religious freedoms or community relations.’


For further comment or information, contact Pavan Dhaliwal at or 0207 079 3585

Read our policy on animal welfare here

Read our response to the Defra consultation here

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious and campaigning for an end to religious privilege and discrimination based on religion or belief. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.



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