The halal and kosher slaughter of animals should be outlawed, Britain's leading vet said on Thursday, local newspapers reported.
The ritual killing of poultry, sheep and cattle by cutting their throats causes unnecessary suffering to animals, John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said, adding that he wanted to discuss the issue with Muslim and Jewish people.
The vet who acknowledged that there were likely to be “sensitivities surrounding the issue” said that the debate was relying on “beliefs handed down hundreds of years ago, that may have been true at the time.”
“I don't think an outright ban is a long way off, there is enough of a view that this practice is inhumane and causes suffering at the time of death,” The Guardian quoted Blackwell as saying.
“We have tried to keep it out of the religious sphere. It is not an attack on religious faith, it is a view that we have taken on animal welfare,” he said.
Traditionally, for Muslims and Jews, slaughter practices involve animals having their throats slit and the blood drained because it is “humane.”
Blackwell also insisted that the debate should be “moved forward so that the animals are stunned before being killed.”
In response to Blackwell’s comments, Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “I really regret John Blackwell's remarks, which are completely misleading,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
Charities including Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA also support the move to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning first.
Last month, despite huge pressure from the Muslim and Jewish communities the halal and kosher slaughter of animals was banned in Denmark as the country's minister for food, Dan Jorgensen, maintained that “animal rights come before religion.”
Animals must be conscious when killed for the meat to be kosher under Jewish law and halal under Islamic law.SHOW MORE