Most Britons want a ban on halal slaughter of conscious animals, a new poll has revealed.
A survey conducted by One Poll for The Sunday People suggests widespread disapproval for animals being bled to death.
Some 83 per cent of 1,000 adults quizzed said the law should be changed to ensure all animals killed for food production are stunned before slaughter.
An even larger proportion (86 per cent) said shoppers should have the right to choose whether to buy meat from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning.
And 86 per cent said all meat on sale should be clearly labelled to indicate whether it is halal or kosher.
Most people quizzed wanted the meat – halal under the Muslim faith and kosher for Jewish people – to be clearly labelled in shops and restaurants.
It is estimated that 114 million animals are killed annually in the UK using the halal method and a further 2.1 million under kosher practices. Three per cent of all cattle, 10 per cent of sheep and goats and four per cent of poultry are slaughtered without being pre-stunned, according to the RSPCA.
The RSPCA’s head of public affairs David Bowles said: “Non-stun slaughter can cause considerable suffering and as a result the organisation believes this practice should be banned once and for all. While we believe religious beliefs and practices should be respected, we also feel strongly animals must be slaughtered under the most humane conditions possible.”
The Halal Monitoring Committee disallows stunning in any form. And it says the act of stunning is extremely disliked and according to some even reaches the stage of being haraam, as it causes the animal unnecessary suffering.
On its website HMC says: “Amongst the guidelines established for a Halal slaughter is the unwavering fundamental that the animal must be alive at the time of slaughter and the blood must be drained out.
“It has been witnessed that on many occasions animals subjected to stunning arrive at the slaughterer dead. This is due to either the unbearably high voltage or a delay in the time it takes to get to the slaughterer if the stunning is irreversible. Sometimes it can also be because animals are drowned in the stunning tank. It has been noted that the problem of dead animals reaching the slaughterer is invariably present in all the slaughterhouses that use the stunning method.
“The research also states that animals, especially chickens die prior to slaughter due to stunning. It is also proven that a large amount of blood remains in the animal which renders it Haram. The animal is also deprived of the effects of tasmiyyah (religious blessing) as it would be unconscious at the time of slaughter.”