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William Powell AM calls for tougher stance on non-stun slaughter in Wales

2015 Gorffenaf 15 2:37 PM

Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for the Environment & Rural Affairs, William Powell, has today highlighted concerns around the controversial practice of non-stun slaughter in Wales. A series of questions were asked by Mr Powell this afternoon to the Deputy Minister for Farming & Food, Rebecca Evans AM.

Speaking in the Assembly this afternoon, William Powell said:

"The British Veterinary Association (BVA) Welsh Branch, RSPCA Cymru and others have for some time been expressing concerns about the practice of non-stun slaughter in Wales, and repeated calls have been made to the Welsh Labour Government to take action on the issue.

"Whilst in no way wishing to undermine religious traditions and practices, it is clear that concern over animal welfare in this regard is widespread. A Westminster petition on the topic has received over 120,000 signatures and one launched by RSPCA Cymru over 3000 signatures. It is important therefore that we have transparent labelling on meat products in Wales which enable consumers to clearly identify non-stun produce - not only will this improve consumer confidence but it will also minimise harm to the agriculture industry in Wales."

The BVA Welsh Branch President, Dr Neil Paton, commented:

"The BVA and BVA Welsh Branch have long advocated that animals should be effectively stunned before slaughter and we are pleased that Mr Powell has asked questions on this important but sensitive issue in the Welsh Assembly today.

"Scientific evidence demonstrates that slaughter without pre-stunning unnecessarily compromises animal welfare and we will continue to make the case that there should be no non-stun slaughter on welfare grounds - or to ensure, at the very least, that meat from non-stun slaughter enters only those markets which the derogation allows for. In the short term, we are keen to pursue the introduction of immediate post-cut stunning as well as clearer labelling for consumers, particularly in the light of the recent European Commission report.

"Ongoing dialogue with relevant religious communities is also very important, exploring whether new technologies could make stunned meat and fish more acceptable to those communities who require it. Working in Wales I know how rightly proud Welsh farmers are of Welsh meat as a highly regarded quality product. The welfare of the animals is part and parcel of that prized brand and that includes welfare at slaughter."

The RSPCA Cymru's petition, which has backing from the BVA, can be found here - https://campaigns.rspca.org.uk//ea-action/action?ea.client.id=143&ea.campaign.id=29744