Andrew Rosindell, Animal Welfare MP, Joins In Condemnation Of Ritual Slaughter

An MP and animal welfare campaigner has joined the call for the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat to be banned in the UK.

Andrew Rosindell, the secretary of Parliament's animal welfare group, has joined the new leader of Britain's vets in demanding that Muslims and Jews stop the religious slaughter of more than half a million creatures a week.

"If you ask the average British citizen whether they agreed with this, they would say no. An animal has to be killed for food, but it needs to be done in a humane way," he said.

"Why should we allow that kind of thing to go on in this country when it goes against everything we stand for as a people?"

In a report by The Times newspaper, he argued that the British have an "accepted way of behaving," that includes the "correct treatment of animals."

Urging other cultures to have respect for the traditions of this country he said: "I'm afraid I don't agree that such tradition, that may be prevalent in some countries, should be allowed to be exported here."

His comments followed John Blackwell, the president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, saying the religious customs associated with slaughtering animals should be adapted or face a ban as in Denmark.

The religious slaughter of poultry, sheep and cattle causes unnecessary suffering to animals, he said in an emotive appeal.

Traditionally, Jewish and Islamic slaughter practices involve animals having their throats slit and the blood drained. But Mr Blackwell has suggested stunning the animals so that they are unconscious before the fatal cut is made.

Mr Blackwell said British abattoirs could follow the example of the Danish meat industry, which bans the slaughter of animals which are not stunned prior to death.

He said: "The Danish unilateral banning [was done] purely for animal welfare reasons, which is right. We may well have to go down that route."

Mr Blackwell said the way halal and kosher meat is created, through the throat being slit, resulted in "five or six seconds" of pain for the animal.

"They will feel the cut," he said.

"They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck. They will perceive the aspiration of blood they will breath in before they lose consciousness."

But Nick Clegg yesterday pledged his support for the ritual slaughter, saying religious rights should be prioritised over animal rights.

"No government of which I'm a part will follow Denmark," he said.

"Of course I want to see animal suffering minimised," he told his LBC 97.3 radio show, 'I disagrees with the suggestion that we should basically remove the right of Jewish communities and Muslim communities in this country.

"These are ancient beliefs hand down over generations. As a liberal, I believe in trying to protect that kind of diversity not trying to squash it."