Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Religious Slaughter

In God’s Name - Religious Slaughter in the UK

In Britain today, millions of farmed animals face having their throats cut while fully conscious – and it’s perfectly legal. The law states that animals must be stunned before they are killed in the abattoir but animals which are killed by Jewish and Moslem religious slaughter are exempt from that rule. Scientific evidence shows that these animals face severe pain and distress. The Government’s own advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, called for the banning of religious slaughter. Viva! has opposed religious slaughter for many years.

Slaughter Without Prestunning

Although stunning before slaughter is often ineffective, slaughter without it is an excruciating and terrifying experience faced by millions of animals every year. At present the law exempts animals killed to provide Jewish shechita and Moslem halal meat from the requirement to be stunned: Viva! believes that law must be repealed as a matter of urgency.

In 2013, Poland banned slaughter without stunning - a victory driven by Viva! Poland. This was followed by a similar move in Denmark. These developments have re-ignited the debate in the UK. Recently, John Blackwell, who took over as president elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) in 2013, has stated that killing animals by letting them bleed to death after slitting their throats causes unnecessary suffering. He said: "The Danish unilateral banning [was done] purely for animal welfare reasons, which is right." 

John Blackwell's views echo those of Viva! and most other animal campaigning groups in the UK.

However, Viva! reiterates its opposition to all slaughter and we promote veganism as the only truly effective way to prevent animal suffering. Viva!’s investigations show that millions of animals slaughtered by conventional means are ineffectively, painfully or incompletely stunned – this means that if you eat meat you will sometimes - and perhaps often - eat meat from what are effectively unstunned animals. It is also worth considering that  the overwhelming majority of the 980 million killed each year in Britain lead lives of deprivation and suffering. Find out more about slaughter. Find out how easy it is to go vegan - or at least move in that direction.

Please also consider a donation to help us continue to expose animal abuse. If you like what Viva! does and want to become part of our work why not join today?​

Latest updates

Tony Wardle, Viva!'s associate director, was interviewed this...

A boycott of the sandwich chain Subway is threatened by leading...

The Government has just announced that it will not now or in the...

On the eve of the publication of the Government’s response...

Campaign materials

In order to eat meat with a clear conscience, many consumers imagine the killing process to be a sanitized affair. Indeed, most meat-...

In this section

Please note this is not an active campaign as the series was shown several years ago. However, we hope that lessons have been learnt and the BBC will not 'whitewash' the slaughter...

When, in April 2004, the Government responded to the 2003 Farm Animal Welfare Report on welfare at slaughter, it invited comments from bodies and organisations with an interest in the issue. In...