Consumers need to know how animals are killed before buying meat products

NEWS AND COMMENT-UK: Bravo, again, to Carrie Johnson who is a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF). She has long campaigned for labelling requirements on meat products making it obligatory to provide information as to how the animal was reared and slaughtered. There are many people in Britain concerned about animal welfare who want to know how the animal was killed before buying meat.

Labelling of meat products to say how the animal was reared and killed is important in animal welfare and in it allows consumers to make choices

Labelling of meat products to say how the animal was reared and killed is important in animal welfare and in it allows consumers to make choices. Photo: Pixabay

At the moment it is not compulsory to label meat as halal. As I’m sure you know, when animals are killed in halal abattoirs their throats are cut but the animals are not stunned beforehand. The law requires that animals are stunned but an exception is made for halal meat. There was a push by veterinarians for a while to change the law to ensure that halal abattoirs stunned the animals in the normal way before slaughter. That fizzled out.

There is an issue with kosher meat, as well, because the animals are not always stunned before being killed.

It seems that the Conservative government have proposed a new law to improve meat product labelling. The bill is at an early stage and will go through public consultation. Ministers believe that it would be supported by the majority of the British public.

Victoria Prentis, Minister for Farming Fisheries and Food, said that as a nation people are increasingly concerned about animal welfare and environmental standards. She believes that information about how the animals killed on the label is part of a “toolbox” which can help to create a better food system for people and the planet. Lorraine Platt, chairman of CAWF, and a friend of the Prime Minister’s wife, is pleased with the news stating that, except for whole eggs, there is currently no legal requirement to label products with information on how the animal was reared and slaughtered but the public are interested.

This sort of labelling may in fact benefit the meat producing industry because consumers can know when animals are treated humanely which will encourage them to purchase the product. Sir Roger Gale, an MP, said that Brexit has given the government an opportunity to reform farming systems. And transparency with consumers is part of that process. “Labelling for animal welfare” is an important step forward. It empowers consumers to make informed decisions. He states that around 80% of British consumers regarding animal welfare as an important consideration when shopping.

Well-done. This is an important step in animal welfare. Perhaps overdue. Boris Johnson should get some praise for this. I’m tired of Boris bashing by the left and biased presenters such as James O’Brien on LBC.

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