Write to your MP at House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA; to MSPs at The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP.
As you may know, the Government advisory body the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) produced a report on the issue of animal welfare. The Government issued its response to the Council’s report and I am very disappointed that they have not taken up some of the most important recommendations made by the Council. Please support the campaign to reduce the enormous suffering of animals at slaughter by pressing the Government to take action over the following severe welfare problems:
- the stunning of animals with carbon dioxide gas
Scientific research has shown that CO2 which is now used in around a quarter of all pig slaughterings causes great distress to animals. Pigs squeal, hyperventilate and try to escape for up to 30 seconds in the gas chamber. FAWC recommended phasing out the use of this aversive gas but the Government has refused to do so.
- the killing of fully conscious animals
Under a special legal exemption, animals killed for halal or kosher meat do not have to be stunned at all and are knifed whilst conscious. Although over 90% of animals slaughtered for halal meat in Britain are now pre-stunned, no legislative action has been taken to ban this cruelty. FAWC recommended the practice be banned but the Government has refused to do so.
- Animals being improperly stunned
Poor stunning technique, incorrect placement of electric stunning tongs and allowing too much time between stunning and “sticking” – the act of killing - means that millions of animals either never lose consciousness, suffer pain on stunning or regain consciousness before their throats are cut. FAWC recommended far closer supervision of stunning and mandatory “stun-to-stick” times. The Government has introduced no changes on the former and refused to introduce the latter.
Nearly two-and-a-half million animals are killed in Britain every day and the size of this industrialised slaughter means that welfare problems such as these affect very large numbers of animals. There can be no excuse for refusing to take action against suffering on such a scale. I look forward to your reply.