HMC’s Response to the Times Article ‘Non-stun halal abattoirs far more likely to break animal welfare rules’.
The Times published an article on Saturday 18th November 2017 titled ‘Non-stun halal abattoirs far more likely to break animal welfare rules’.
Louis Goddard from the Times Data team looked at figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in relation to animal welfare and hygiene breaches at slaughterhouses in England & Wales and tried to present a comparison between those slaughterhouses that stun and those slaughterhouses that do not stun.
The weakness of the article and the analysis provided is stunning (pun intentional).
There is no information as to which plants were analysed for non-stun and which were analysed for stun. There is no information on the size of the plants, the number of employees at each plant, whether it was a meat or poultry plant, nor the nature of the animal welfare/hygiene breach.
It is a very simplistic article, with an agenda of attacking non-stunned Halal, already decided before any data has been gathered or a word has been typed.
For example, the article says, “Since 2013, more than a dozen incidents of assault, intimidation, aggressive behaviour and verbal abuse have also been reported by inspectors at non-stun halal slaughterhouses, many of which are owned by non-Muslims.”
What has this got to do with non-stun? Most probably the non-stunned animals are assaulting, intimidating, and verbally abusing inspectors from the FSA!
The shoddy nature of this Times investigation was not missed by the British Veterinary Association who do not pass any opportunity to attack non-stunned Halal, and yet the most BVA could offer was…
“Gudrun Ravetz, senior vice-president at the British Veterinary Association, which opposes non-stunned slaughter, called for further research into the issue.”
If the article was truly about animal welfare then surely one would need to encompass a fair picture where animal welfare breaches have been identified. Between 2014-2016 the FSA reporter 4000 incidents “level 4 problems” where animals were subject to avoidable pain and suffering. These incidents have completely contravened animal welfare regulations which were the most severe forms of abuse occurring. Note that the report does not subject the welfare concerns to “Halal” or “non stunned” but towards animal welfare breaches that were identified.
Some of the issues identified include:
- Stunning in cattle that was not effective thus inflicting unnecessary pain to animals
- Lambs were dead on arrival at the slaughter houses.
- Numerous occurrences of mis-stunning thus inflicting unnecessary pain to the animals.
- No protection to adverse weather
- Chickens Waiting for more than 12 hours for food and water
- Animals not properly stunned
It is apparent from this data that the breaches in animal welfare are taking place across the sector yet the media’s objective is to merely tarnish “Halal” rather than working objectively to make a positive difference.