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Majority of non-stun halal slaughterhouses have failed hygiene inspections

The majority of slaughterhouses producing non-stunned halal meat in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have failed inspections in the last three years by the Food Standards Agency. Only one in seven other slaughterhouses have done likewise. Data has revealed that non-stun slaughterhouses are also failing to maintain the hygiene standards required by law. Humanists UK has called upon the Government to end the exemptions to animal welfare regulations that allow non-stunned slaughter, which causes unnecessary suffering to the animal.

According to data from the Food Standards Agency and the Halal Monitoring Committee, 53% of non-stun halal slaughterhouses have failed inspections compared to just 14% of other slaughter houses. Furthermore, 68% have major hygiene issues, a significantly higher proportion than th 40% in slaughterhouses that stun their animals before slaughter.

The figures also reveal that 22% of non-stun slaughterhouses had major animal welfare issues compared to only 9% of other slaughterhouses. Last month, four men who worked at a non-stun slaughterhouse pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary cruelty to sheep after footage revealed them abusing the animals.

These figures suggest that there is a correlation between the method of slaughter and the regard shown towards the animal and its environment in the slaughterhouse. Non-stunned halal slaughter involves slitting the animal’s throat whilst it is still fully conscious and sensitive to pain, and allowing the animal to die slowly of blood loss. This is done outside of the normal welfare regulations for the slaughtering of animals, under exceptions made for halal and kosher meat. The figures suggest that this disregard for the animal’s suffering engenders a wider disregard for other animal welfare and hygiene regulations.

In response to these figures, the National Farmers’ Union has called on the Government to address the issue of non-stun slaughter houses and reduce the number of animals slaughtered by them, amid fears that they could lower Britain’s high animal welfare standards. The number of animals slaughtered without stunning has dramatically increased in recent years. From April to June of 2017, 24.4% of sheep and goats were killed without stunning, a rise from 15% in 2013. This sharp increase raises the risk that more animals are being slaughtered in places that are unhygienic and unfit for use.

Humanists UK Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘We’ve long campaigned against non-stunned slaughter on grounds that it causes unnecessary pain and suffering to the animal. These figures are truly worrying and confirm that non-stun slaughter houses are disproportionately failing to maintain both animal welfare and hygiene standards. In light of this, we urge the Government to take immediate action to ban this type of slaughter and the poorer standards that it engenders.’’  


For further comment or information contact Humanists UK Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan, at or 07951 176 245.

Read more on our campaigns on animal welfare:

Read our previous article on the recent increase in non-stun religious slaughter:

About Humanists UK

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and campaigning work, we’re committed to creating a fair and equal society for all.

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