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Our petition to preserve religious slaughter in the UK and EU

Posted 19 February 2015. Updated 4 April 2015.

Together with the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region, we have jointly started an e-petition to protect religious slaughter in the UK and EU.

We see the right to practice religious slaughter as a fundamental to the religious freedom of Jews and Muslims. It is an integral part of Judaism and Islam that only certain animals can be eaten, and they must be slaughtered in the way that is prescribed by the religion.

That is why the European Union law regarding animal slaughter and the UK law regarding animal slaughter both exempt slaughter carried out in accordance with religious requirements from the otherwise statutory requirement to pre-stun the animal.

“Animal welfare lobbyists” regularly contend that killing animals without pre-stunning is cruel, and that the religious freedom of Jews and Muslims should be overridden by banning animal slaughter without pre-stunning.

Such a ban would not only override religious freedom; it would also do nothing to reduce animal suffering. There is much evidence that slaughter carried out in accordance with Jewish kosher and Muslim halal requirements is not cruel. The American animal welfare expert Temple Grandin of the Department of Animal Science at Colorado State University has carried out much work on this topic, some of which can be found at the link https://www.grandin.com/ritual/rec.ritual.slaughter.html We have written about this before on our website.

An e-petition created by Sally Burnell “End non-stun slaughter to promote animal welfare” has received over 100,000 signatures (114,902 at the time of writing) and is therefore is eligible for a debate in the House of Commons.

Accordingly our two organisations decided to create a petition to protect religious slaughter. Since all e-petitions must be created by a single individual, the petition is in the name of Mohammed Amin, who is the Muslim Co-Chair of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester. The petition went live at 08:00 on Friday 13 February.

The e-petition is no longer available on Parliament's e-petitions website as that has been closed upon the dissolution of Parliament on 30 March 2015.

The petition gained support rapidly. At the time of writing on 19 February, it had received over 49,000 signatures. The 100,000 signatures needed to be eligible for a debate in the House of Commons were achieved in about nine days, and after 12 days the total number of signatures had exceeded that of Sally Burnell's petiton which had been open since April 2014!

Jonny Wineberg, a Vice-President of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region and member of our Executive said "The slaughter of animals is an emotive issue, which often leads to subjective judgments. The research shows that religious slaughter without pre-stunning, when done properly, causes virtually no pain to an animal. The focus should be on setting the highest possible standards for slaughter done both with and without pre-stunning, and measures to ensure that they are met, rather than attacking religious slaughter."

Mohammed Amin, our Co-Chair said “I am pleased by the rapidity with which people have signed this petition. Citizens of the UK who believe in the importance of preserving religious freedom need to make their voices heard in this manner.”

 

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