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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

MEPs back proposals to introduce mandatory labelling of ritually slaughtered meat

MEPs have today approved proposals to introduce mandatory labelling of ritually slaughtered meat.

Meat and meat products from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter, i.e. kosher and halal meat, will need to indicate this. Labels will have to read “Meat from slaughter without stunning”.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the UK’s National Secular Society, which has been campaigning for MEPs to act on labelling said: “We congratulate the Parliament on voting to give consumers the information they need to avoid buying meat from animals not stunned before slaughter. Large quantities of such meat are sold to the general public without them knowing.

“While we welcome the progress on labelling, we believe it should be extended to restaurants and canteens.

“We also call for the lifting of the exemption that religious groups enjoy from general animal welfare provisions for animals to be stunned prior to slaughter. The Parliament voted last year to permit member states to lift the exemption if they chose to, and want member states to do so. Animals should not be made to suffer because of centuries-old religious practices. Religious groups in some countries allow pre-stunned meat to be certified as kosher or halal. We hope all European countries will follow their example.”

Amendment 205 of the Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the provision of food information to consumers was adopted with 326 votes in favour of the amendment, 270 against and 68 abstentions.

The full report (A7-0109/2010) was adopted by 559 votes in favour to 54 against with 32 abstentions.

Published Wed, 16 Jun 2010