Slaughter Of Animals And The Law

2384 words - 10 pages

Slaughter of animals is regulated by law and because of the growing concern for consideration of animal suffering, the process of stunning has become obligatory in the European Union since 1979 in order to avoid unnecessary suffering. However, most of the member states have made exceptions regarding religious slaughter in order to satisfy the Islamic and Jewish communities and their traditions. In the United-Kingdom, the stunning of animals before slaughter is required to avoid unnecessary pain and is regulated by both European and national law. Stunning is the process of making the animal unconscious before killing in order to avoid unnecessary suffering. The main body responsible for this process is the DEFRA (Development environment food and rural affairs). It is the Slaughter of Animals Act 1933 which first introduced this requirement in England and Wales. Currently, the relevant legislation governing the religious slaughter of animals in national law is the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 with its Schedule 12. Later, the Welfare of Animals at the time of killing (England) Regulations 2013 was brought into force and extended to activities which were not covered by the WASK 1995. The European Regulations 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing is now in force and replaced in 2013 the directive 93/119. All these insure the prohibition of avoidable excitement, pain or suffering by imposing specific methods of killing and licenses to people conducted slaughter who must be trained.
However, the law allows exceptions for religious slaughter . Indeed, it states that the Jewish method of killing called Schechita and the Muslim one called Dhabihah are permitted as long as they avoid unnecessary suffering. The problem is that some argues that these religious slaughter techniques are cruel and unnecessary because they do not perform stunning before killing and therefore kill the animal while it is still conscious. Despite great debate on this matter, the government has confirmed in November 2010 that it did not intend to prohibit religious slaughter . There is no lawful requirement for the religious slaughtered meat to be labelled as such in England and Wales; a private’s member bill aiming to this purpose was not approved by the House of Commons in 2012. Indeed, this would mean a sort of discrimination towards religious communities.
Similarly, the European Regulations on the protection of animals at the time of killing explains that derogation from stunning for religious purpose should be maintained, even though member states should have a say on its regulation, because of the respect of the “freedom of religion and the right to manifest religion” . This right is protected under the Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European Union. Thus the debate on the subject is very controversial because it involves freedom of religion as opposed to rights of animals. We should then attempt...

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