Maria Caulfield MP has backed proposed changes to the law that would require all meat products to be labelled with the method of slaughter including whether the animal was stunned or not before slaughter.
According to the Food Standards Agency, in 2018 there were 20,000 cattle, 3.1 million sheep, and 90.8 million broiler chickens slaughtered without pre-stunning in England and Wales. If passed the Amendment to the Agriculture Bill would require all meat products to be clearly labelled to indicate how the animal was killed and if it was stunned or not. Although this will not make it mandatory for animals to be stunned before slaughter, it is believed that when given a choice consumers will chose meat from animals that were stunned before slaughter and make it commercially unviable for meat producers not to stun their animals.
The Amendment has the support from animal welfare charity the RSPCA who believe that consumers have a right to know where their meat comes from, how it was reared, and how it was killed at the time of slaughter. The RSPCA would like to see meat sold in supermarkets, shops and other food outlets clearly labelled where non-stun slaughter methods have been used.
Maria Caulfield MP said “In a welfare conscious marketplace, I believe that clearly labelling meat with slaughter information will also expose and isolate producers that don’t stun, the financial implications of which may force them to change their practices. Many people still want to eat meat but are concerned about the welfare of livestock before death, this Amendment to the Agriculture Bill will give them a clear choice between meat where the animal was stunned before death or animals that were not. I am pleased to have signed this Amendment and hope that it will receive the backing of Parliament to become law.”