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Ban cruel slaughtering practices, Humanists UK tells Government

Humanists UK has called for the UK Government to end legal exemptions given to some religious groups that allow them to slaughter animals without pre-stunning them, in its response to a consultation on an English national food strategy being held by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

In its submission, Humanists UK states that any national food strategy ‘should place protecting and improving our animal welfare regime at the heart of its considerations of animal agriculture, including the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter.’

Therefore, it asks the Government to repeal these exemptions so that all animals are stunned prior to slaughter to reduce their suffering, and if this is not possible it must bring forward legislation to ensure that all non-stunned meat is clearly labelled so that consumers can make informed choices about the meat products they purchase.

Humanists UK campaigns for an end to non-stunned slaughter in the UK, due to its inhumane nature and the unnecessary suffering it causes to animals.

Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson commented: ‘A significant amount of scientific evidence has found that pre-stunning animals prior to slaughter can alleviate pain and this method is recommended by all the major animal welfare and veterinary bodies in the UK. While we fully respect the right of religious communities to practise their beliefs, such practices can and should be limited if they damage the health and morals of our society or infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others.

‘It is not justifiable to slit the throat of a fully conscious animal and allow it to die slowly of blood loss when there are more humane ways to kill an animal for food. It is a dereliction of our moral duty towards animals and we don’t think religious practices  justify treating animals in this way.’


For more information contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or 020 7324 3078.

Read our response to the consultation.

Read more about our campaigns on animal welfare.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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