Campaign launched for stun/non-stun labelling

A campaign has been launched for “clear and honest labelling” on halal meat to show whether the animal was stunned before slaughter or not.

The ‘One out of Five’ campaign aims to show the Muslim community that 80% of the halal meat they consume is pre-stunned, so just one out of five products are unstunned.

Halal political adviser Mohammed Saleem launched the campaign, which is a joint project with a number of Birmingham mosques. He said he believed labelling meat ‘halal’ was not enough since Muslims were purchasing stunned meat without knowing it. Furthermore, he believed the general public deserved to know how their meat was slaughtered.

He explained: “The campaign aims to raise awareness among consumers by asking, ‘Are you the 1 out of 5 or the 4 out of 5?’, and encouraging them to write to halal producers and multiples to ask for clear and honest labelling, so informed choices can be made.

“This means advising appropriate agencies that we don’t want funny labels, colours or company logos – just the words stunned or non-stunned. It’s for Muslims and the wider community; it’s all about labelling.”  

The announcement of the campaign comes after a debate on non-stun slaughter was held in Westminster due to a British Veterinary Association (BVA) petition to ban non-stun gained 114,000 signatures. However, a counter-petition to protect religious slaughter was then launched which managed to reach 140,000 in 10 days.

Saleem also criticised the BVA’s animal welfare agenda, which aims to ban non-stun slaughter, while there was “no mention of gas stunning where it takes five to seven minutes for a chicken to suffocate and for pigs they fear seven to nine minutes”.

Schechita UK’s director Shimon Cohen added: “The BVA is negligent in its duty to protect animals. If there is a genuine interest in improving animal welfare at time of slaughter, we need to look at many areas, such as abattoir practices, CCTV and mis-stunning. The fixation with religious slaughter beggars belief.”

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