Animal Welfare (Non-stun Slaughter)
Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) (Lab):
Surely the point that the right hon. Gentleman raises is about labelling, rather than the nature of the stunning.
Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con):
Not entirely. If more non-stunned slaughter is being carried out in this country than is required for religious purposes, there is an over-provision of non-stunned slaughter. The point that the hon. Lady makes on labelling is absolutely right, however. It is unacceptable that meat from non-stunned animals should be sold in this country without that being drawn to the attention of potential consumers. While we have heard suggestions today that the precise methods of non-stunned or stunned slaughter should be drawn to consumers’ attention, my view is that “stunned” or “non-stunned” is at least a clear and understandable starting point for labelling, and I believe it would be widely welcomed. We have already heard that simply to label meat as “halal” or “kosher” would be insufficient, for all the reasons that have already been advanced.
It emerged last year that the restaurant chain PizzaExpress had been serving halal-only chicken for some considerable time without drawing that to the attention of consumers. Labelling goes beyond what is displayed in the butcher’s shop or on the supermarket shelves. People in restaurants must have a clear choice as to what they are being offered, so labelling should extend to menus in restaurants.
We must ensure that only the appropriate level of non-stunned meat is allowed to be sold in this country. Similarly, it is essential that consumers know precisely what is being offered for sale before they buy it and put it on their families’ plates.