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U.K.’s top veterinarian suggests ban on ritual slaughter

by JTA

March 6, 2014 | 2:24 pm

A slaughterer works with beef carcasses in the Biernacki Meat Plant slaughterhouse in Golina near Jarocin, western Poland, in 2013. Photo by Kacper Pempel/Reuters

A slaughterer works with beef carcasses in the Biernacki Meat Plant slaughterhouse in Golina near Jarocin, western Poland, in 2013. Photo by Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The president-elect of the British Veterinary Association called for a ban on slaughtering cattle without first stunning it, which in effect would outlaw traditional kosher slaughter.

In an interview with the Times, John Blackwell called for prohibiting kosher and halal slaughter because it causes pain to the animal for “five or six seconds,” according to reports. 

“They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck,” Blackwell said in the interview. “They will perceive the aspiration of blood. They will breathe in before they lose consciousness.”

Shimon Cohen, the campaign director of Shechita UK, which aims to preserve kosher slaughter, or shechitah, said the initiative was a “dereliction of duty.”

“Of the countless pressing animal welfare issues that we are faced with today, he has chosen to focus on an issue which is not supported by scientific consensus and which affects a tiny minority of animals,” Cohen said in a statement.

“Animal welfare is at the heart of everything that we do. It is scandalous that, once again, in the context of such pervasive cruelty in so many abattoirs, that the BVA continue to single out faith communities for criticism.”

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