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Shechita UK responds

Last updated: 2004-06-28

Shechita UK has submitted the formal response of the Jewish Community to the Government's Draft Response to the Farm Animal Welfare Council Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing, Part 1: Red Meat Animals to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

On the submission, Henry Grunwald QC, Honorary Chairman of Shechita UK, said "Our response relates to those recommendations included in the Government's draft response that pertain to the Jewish religious humane method of animal slaughter for food, known as shechita. In the response, we welcome the Government's firm commitment to protect the right of the Jewish community to continue to practise shechita. However we express deep concern that the
Government appears to have accepted FAWC's assertions about the subjective experience of animals during shechita, in particular that "on balance, animals (especially cattle) slaughtered without pre-stunning are likely to experience very significant pain and distress"."

He continued, "Our submission tackles this issue, drawing on published scientific literature to establish the humane nature of shechita, and to refute the allegations of FAWC with respect to shechita. It responds to the Government's draft recommendations pertaining to shechita, and goes one step further by making a number of recommend-ations of our own with respect to
actions the Government might take in the light of the points made in the submission. In particular, we have asked the Government for the first time to state unequivocally that it recognises shechita as the Jewish religious humane method of animal slaughter."

Mr Grunwald concluded by stating that, "Shechita UK is an unprecedented, successful example of communal unity. The response document is an enormous achievement."