The president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Robin Hargreaves is urging party leaders in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to support its campaign to end non-stun slaughter in the U.K.

Since the launch last April of the BVA’s U.K.-wide petition to end non-stun slaughter in the country, more than 72,000 individuals have signed. To trigger a House of Lords debate, 100,000 signatures are needed.

European and U.K. legislation require all animals to be stunned before slaughter. However, an exemption in U.K. law allows animals to be slaughtered without for stunning for certain religious communities – Dhabihah slaughter for Halal food and Shechita slaughter for Kosher food.

“We have always made it very clear that we are not concerned with the practicing of religious belief, but with the throat cutting of animals that have not been rendered insensible to pain,” says Hargreaves.

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The need to differentiate between non-stun and religious slaughter in relation to food labeling has also been highlighted.

“Proposals to label all Halal and Kosher products will do nothing to inform the public about the very proper concerns regarding welfare at slaughter and could fuel further confusion and potentially feed prejudice.

“Halal labeling does not recognize that around 88 percent of Halal slaughter in the U.K. is pre-stunned. If labeling is to be progressed, we ant he discussion to move away from one about ‘Halal’ and ‘Kosher’  and instead for labeling to show whether meat is from stunned or non-stunned animals.”