Wales Green Party drops pledge to ban non-stun slaughter
Posted: Wed, 8th Nov 2023
Members vote to monitor slaughter "without prejudice towards minority religious and cultural groups".
The National Secular Society has expressed alarm that members of the Wales Green Party have voted to drop the party's policy to end non-stun slaughter of farmed animals.
Ninety-six per cent of members at the party's autumn conference in Cardiff voted in favour of adopting a revised text which no longer commits to ending non-stun slaughter. Instead, it says slaughter should be "monitored without prejudice towards minority religious and cultural groups".
This reverses the party's previous pledge in its 2021 manifesto to push for a ban on non-stun slaughter. Its manifesto said: "We envision a world where we no longer exploit animals, and where legislation provides the protection that animals deserve".
Animal welfare law requires animals to be stunned before slaughter to minimise their pain, suffering and distress. The only exemption is for Jewish and Muslim communities to meet kosher and halal religious dietary preferences.
Animal welfare experts overwhelmingly agree that slaughtering animals without stunning them first causes unnecessary and significant suffering.
Green Party most popular among Muslim voters
Conference documents said the previous pledge to ban non-stun slaughter was "open to interpretation as discriminatory towards minority communities" and "problematic on equality and inclusion issues".
The motion was proposed by party leader Anthony Slaughter, who said the revised text "covers the issues sensitively". He urged the conference to adopt it because "communities know that this has been brought to our attention and are waiting for me to report back".
Last month, a survey revealed 17% of British Muslims would vote Green, up from 2% in the 2019 general election. This makes the Green Party the most popular party in the UK among Muslim voters.
The Farm Animal Welfare Council, a government advisory body, recommends non-stun slaughter should be banned, concluding animals slaughtered without pre-stunning are likely to experience "very significant pain and distress". The RSPCA and British Veterinary Association both support a ban.
There is also no legal requirement for non-stun meat to be labelled in stores. This is despite nearly 97% of respondents to a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation last year supporting mandatory labelling.
A further consultation on mandatory labelling, promised by the government earlier this year, has yet to emerge.
NSS: Wales Green Party have 'abdicated their principles'
NSS campaigns officer Dr Alejandro Sanchez said: "We are dismayed to see a party with a long history of commitment to environmental and secularist principles turn its back on animal welfare to satisfy religious demands.
"The scientific consensus on non-stun slaughter is clear: it causes unnecessary suffering. Wales Green Party previously sought to uphold animal welfare by supporting a ban. To see them abdicate their principles to find favour with religious groups is deeply disappointing."