Following on from yesterdays news that the European Union is to scrap ritual slaughter labelling legislation (see here:
http://www.secularism.org.uk/euro-ministers-drop-proposals-to.html) we would like to ask you to take action.
Please personalise sample email below.
Go to www.writetothem.com type in your postcode and follow instructions.
Also see below resending of bulletin re: Human Rights Act. If you haven’t already done this please take a couple of minutes to send. Again please forward us any replies, we can help to draft a counter-response for you.
As i said yesterday Scotland for Animals are moving to take legal action regarding labelling and will be campaigning throughout.
Earlier this year MEPs voted in favour of German MEP Renate Sommer’s proposed amendment to draft legislation on food labelling which would mean that meat and meat products from ritually slaughtered animals must carry the label “Meat from slaughter without stunning”.
However, the European Council of Ministers today approved a draft of new food information regulation that did not include amendment 205.
The agreement reached today falls short of demands made by MEPs when they agreed their position on the directive in June.
Renate Sommer said that she was “disappointed” by the agreement, calling it a “sloppy draft” that neglected important details.
The latest move to drop the proposal follows a Europe-wide lobbying campaign by the Jewish food lobby group Shechita UK, which has targeted European Ministers representing their various governments at the Council of Ministers.
Shechita UK has argued that unless meat from religiously slaughtered animals is allowed to slip into the general market covertly, this meat will become commercially unviable. Electrical pre-stunning is not allowed under strict Jewish traditions, whereas the practice is acceptable to many British Muslims.
The NSS has been pressing the UK Government to support the amendment, arguing that where religious exemptions have been made to animal welfare regulations, no more animals should be slaughtered under the exemptions than is necessary for the religious market. Furthermore, consumers are entitled to be informed if meat is from an animal slaughtered without stunning. The current absence of labelling deprives consumers of basic information and consequently artificially fuels the demand for meat from slaughter without stunning.
In a letter to the NSS just weeks before the latest move, Jim Paice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, signalled the UK Government’s intention to oppose the labelling amendment saying that he had recently met with Shechita UK to help him “understand the concerns driving their opposition to labelling”.
Stephen Evans, National Secular Society Campaigns Officer, said: “Keeping the public in ignorance so they carry on subsidising a slaughter method which they do not approve of is simply indefensible. While we’re naturally disappointed that this amendment has fallen, this is far from the end of the campaign to ensure meat from religiously slaughtered animals is labelled. We are anticipating European Commission proposals on welfare labelling in 2011 and we will be ensuring that the Government are well aware of our views – which we believe are supported by the overwhelming majority of the British public.”
Next year, the Government will also be consulting on the implementation of regulations on the protection of animals at the time of killing, which will provide a further opportunity to question the exemptions from animal welfare legislation afforded to religious groups.
Tue, 07 Dec 2010
You’ll no doubt have seen recent media coverage concerning the rapidly rising amount of halal meat being sold to mostly unaware consumers.
Scotland for Animals have been campaigning for a complete ban on halal and kosher slaughter for some years now. Despite obstruction from authorities and bodies such as Trading Standards and the Food Standards Agency, not to mention blanket reluctance from politicians to even discuss the issue we have continued to press hard for clear labelling of all ritual slaughter products by law.
Animals already suffer horrendously in our abattoirs but we now see a situation where more and more slaughtering plants are switching to killing animals without prior stunning or being subjected to the useless “Low Amperage Stun-to-Stun” technique (see http://www.scotlandforanimals.org/religiousslaughter.html for details). This is making a terrible situation far worse and is slowly making laws designed to minimise animal suffering not worth the paper they’re written on.
The level of halal meat being sold to unsuspecting consumers in the UK has now reached a ridiculous level. Not only do we now see halal meat sold in all the major supermarkets and restaurants, takeaways, bars, etc. but being served without warning in our Parliaments, schools and other public institutions.
According to the BBC halal meat now accounts for over a quarter of all meat sold across Britain.
Those who carry out religious slaughter cite their “human rights” to torture animals in the name of god, we’re now demanding that those of us who want to see animals free from pain and fear have our human rights protected by law too.
Will you stand with us?
Contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission and ask for action to ensure people know when they’re being sold meat sourced from sacrificial ceremonies. Jewish and Muslim groups have long resisted any attempt to label these products as they know that when most consumers are aware of the circumstances in which their meat was produced they would boycott halal and kosher stockists. Ritual slaughter’s a multi-million pound industry which would suffer serious financial damage as a result.
See below sample email, please feel free to personalise. Courtesy copies go to Equalities Ministers Theresa May/ Lynne Featherstone, DEFRA Minister Caroline Spelman and Agriculture Minister Jim Paice. Also send a copy to your MP, go to www.writetothem.com and follow the instructions.
Henry Grunwald QC, chairman of Shechita UK who lobby to keep religious slaughter legal recently admitted that compulsory labelling “will have a significant impact on the kosher meat industry across Europe.“ Halal lobbyists have also been quoted as claiming that compulsory labelling “would effectively act as a barrier to trade” and would “create an unnecessary layer of regulatory expense”*
Let’s make this the turning point. Together we can start to pull the rug from under the ritual slaughter business.
Re: Ritual Slaughter/ Human Rights Act
FAO Trevor Phillips
CC: Lynne Featherstone MP, Caroline Spelman MP, Theresa may MP, Jim Paice MP
Dear Mr Phillips
I am alarmed to discover the widespread sale of ritual slaughter products (halal/ kosher) mostly without labelling or advertisement.
By purchasing these products without knowledge that they are such I am being forced to participate in and fund religious ritual without my consent. As i wish to neither fund nor participate in these religious rituals at any stage including point of sale I believe this to be a breach of my rights under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
As religious communities in the UK have secured a legal exemption in order to carry out these acts which I find deeply offensive I feel that there should be a stipulation that foods sourced in this way should be clearly advertised and labelled. As these goods are on sale to the general population and not just the communities concerned this would protect my and everyone else’s right not to purchase these products or from any premises or firms which stock them.
It is reasonable that the public should be able to expect that any products on general sale have not been sourced via religious ceremony/ ritual sacrifice unless explicitly stated.
I would be grateful if you could please take action now with regards to this matter. I look forward to your reply with details of how you intend to address this breach of the law.
I have forwarded a copy of this email to my MP and Scotland for Animals.
If you’re in Scotland email to these addresses:
**PLEASE ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS**