Meat from non-stunned animals should be labelled, says BVA

Former president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Bill Reilly has reiterated a call for the labelling of meat from animals that have been slaughtered without stunning, to help consumers make informed decisions.

Speaking at the Animal Welfare Foundation Discussion Forum (AWFDF) on Monday, Reilly stressed the importance of stunning for the welfare of animals.

“Do we care about the welfare of animals at slaughter?” he asked. Reilly added that the BVA was taking several measures against non-stun methods used for religious purposes, and that lobbying politicians was a big part of this.

He further emphasised the importance of labelling, because consumers may not know that an animal has been killed without stunning, and said that they were entitled to know. “People should have an informed choice,” said Reilly. Answering a question from a member in the audience, he agreed that the industry must work alongside religious communities to improve this aspect of animal welfare.

A new EU regulation relating to the welfare of animals at time of killing (WATOK) is due to be enforced in the UK in autumn 2013, but Reilly pointed out that Defra may not include non-stunning methods as part of this.