Skip to content

UK: 99 million animals are not stunned unnecessarily before slaughter due to oversupply.

  • by
Halal meat

Summary: In the UK, up to 99 million animals are unnecessarily slaughtered without being stunned beforehand because the meat from these animals is not being consumed by Muslims or Jews. There is an oversupply of halal and kosher meat in the UK and the oversupplied food is being exported.


Jews and Muslims insist on their meat being non-stunned as per their culture and traditions. The problem is that in the UK up to 99 million animals are killed without being stung beforehand but their meat is not eaten by people of these cultures and traditions. The animals are exported to outside markets. And therefore, putting these animals through this pain is entirely unnecessary. Arguably, it is unnecessary in any case but doubly so if halal meat is not being eaten by people with these traditions.

Halal meat

Halal meat. Photo in public domain.

News media reports that the “total oversupply of non-stunned meat could range between 32% and 278%. This represents between 34 and 99 million animal slaughtered with outstanding every year unnecessarily.”

The UK Food Standards Agency found that, in 2018, 25% of sheep were subjected to non-stun killing. A compounding problem is that some labelling does not tell consumers whether the animal was stunned before slaughter or not. Halal and kosher meats are not always labelled. This means that non-religious people can sometimes support the non-stunning of animals before slaughter, unwittingly.

Veterinarians, in general, have campaigned for all animals to be stunned before slaughter in the UK’s abattoirs. They argue that it is cruel. Religious leaders say that when carried out properly animals don’t feel pain even when they’re not stunned. Their throats are slit with a very sharp knife. But they are totally conscious when this happens.

A report by the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation calculated that the total meat supply from religiously approved slaughter methods is up to 4 times greater than the demand for this meet from Muslim and Jewish people in the UK.

Other countries have a total ban on the non-stunning of animals before slaughter. These countries include: Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Norway and Cyprus.

Ironically, they state that New Zealand exports meat to Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia despite the existence of a non-stun ban in the country. This implies that Muslims are prepared to eat non-halal meat.

The UK government had previously said that they would tackle the problem but they appear to be dilatory in their actions. It would be nice if Carrie Johnson and her friend Lord Goldsmith stepped in to do a bit of pushing as she has done in the past on other animal welfare issues. Earlier in the year Lord Goldsmith had said that the government was taking steps to cut down on the number of animals killed before being stunned.

A member of Parliament and a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, Sir Roger Gale, said that he hoped the UK would emulate Germany and limit non-stun slaughter to meet demand from UK religious communities. Like others, he wants to end the oversupply.

He said: “We should certainly not be producing non-stun meat for export and must not let the UK fall behind best international practice in this area.”

The science of xenotransplantation in this case a pig's heart, genetically modified, transplanted into a 57-year-old man David Bennett senior

Xenotransplantation in action: a gene-edited pig’s heart transplanted into a 57-year-old man

Perhaps you have read about this. It is history in the making. I'm not sure how good it is, though ...
Read More
India has given dolphins animal rights

One day animals will be ‘non-human persons’

If there is a god, one day animals will be described as 'non-human persons'. They will have a whole set ...
Read More
Rescued koala from Koala Carnage

Monster mess of koala conservation in Australia

There appears to be a shocking failure in the conservation of the koala in Australia which has been highlighted by ...
Read More
Grey squirrel at a bird box

Michael Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister, had 400 squirrels shot on his estate

NEWS AND COMMENT: Michael Heseltine believes in speciesism. He has decided that songbirds are more important than squirrels. So, when ...
Read More
Madonald and Geronimo

Geronimo, the alpaca, did not have TB latest tests show

You may remember Geronimo, the alpaca, who was slaughtered after a long-running battle between Helen Macdonald, his owner, and Defra ...
Read More
Dog rescued from Kabul by Nowzad and evacuated to the UK

Kabul evacuation: red herring to say animals were prioritized over people

The world is aghast. There is shock and disbelief. How could anybody prioritise animals over people? And yet, all over ...
Read More
Woman makes videos of applying false nails to her dog's claws

Woman applies huge false nails to her dog’s claws and films it

CALIFORNIA, US - NEWS AND VIEWS: I am going to have to be brutally honest about this. Some people love ...
Read More
Mild case of cat abuse

An amusing cat video or a mild case of cat abuse?

You decide. I have decided. The bloke pushed over the dry cat food container deliberately to make the video. It ...
Read More