Embargoed until: 23.00, Saturday 4 October
No Public Acceptance of
Ritual Religious Slaughter.
Overwhelmingly Rejects Throat Cutting of Conscious Animals
Viva! are launching the results of a survey which shows
that more than 70 per cent of people are opposed to farmed
animals having their throats cut while fully conscious for
religious reasons. NOP questioned 1,000 people in September
2003 for the campaigning animal organisation and found just
22 per cent believed the practice was acceptable, seven per
cent didn't know but 71 per cent thought that killing
animals in this way should not be allowed to continue.
All food animals in Britain are killed by having their throats
cut but the law requires that they are first rendered unconscious.
However, animals killed for Muslim halal and Jewish kosher
meats, can be slaughtered by throat cutting without prestunning.
Severing an animal's throat involves cutting through skin,
muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins
and a mass of nerves. It can take a cow 60 seconds to lose
consciousness - a calf twice this time. Earlier this year,
the Government's advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council,
issued a report saying: "Such a massive injury would
result in very significant pain and distress
It went on to call for a ban on all slaughter without prestunning.
Viva! supports this call and will be holding a lobby of Parliament
on Wednesday, November 19, demanding Government action.
Viva! has filmed both mainstream and religious slaughter
for its video Sentenced to Death. It includes what is believed
to be the only available footage of Jewish Shechita slaughter
in the UK. A large steer is held in a metal crush while the
slaughterer draws his knife backwards and forwards across
the animal's throat 17 times. The steer is still standing,
blood pouring from his severed throat, when the filming ends
after 30 seconds. The video also includes footage of legal
and illegal Muslim slaughter. Viva! are also launching a detailed,
fully referenced report on religious slaughter, Going for
the Kill, which explores the religious and scientific arguments
surrounding the issue.
"Viva!'s campaign against religious slaughter has helped
to end 'home' killing and contributed to major changes in
the Muslim religion, where 90 per cent of animals are now
stunned", says Juliet Gellatley, Viva!'s Director. "The
Jewish authorities, however, will not accept prestunning for
any animals. October 6 is Yom Kippur, the holy Day of Atonement,
when no meat is eaten nor leather worn. I think that should
tell us something! We are launching our campaign to end religious
slaughter on this day because it is marked by forgiveness
and compassion. We believe that should also extend to animals.
No animal needs to be slaughtered for meat but cruelty based
on myths and centuries-old dogma is simply not acceptable
in the 21st century. This poll shows that most people share
Notes for Editors
The survey was carried out by NOP World between 12-14 September
2003 amongst 1000 adults aged 15 +. The question asked was:
"You may or may not know that in Britain, the law requires
that all farmed animals are stunned and are unconscious before
being killed by having their throats cut. However, some groups
for religious reasons, are allowed to cut the throats of fully-conscious
animals without prestunning them. Do you think that this practice
should or should not be allowed to continue?"
For more details of the NOP poll, copies of the Sentenced
to Death video, copies of the 53 page report, Going for
the Kill, or for more information, contact Viva!
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