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MOST Britons want a ban on halal slaughtermen slitting the throats of conscious animals, an exclusive Sunday People poll has revealed.
Our survey suggests widespread disapproval for the 17 UK abattoirs where animals are bled to death without being stunned, for religious reasons.
It is estimated about 10 per cent of animals killed for halal meat are conscious - in line with beliefs of a minority of Muslims.
Most people quizzed wanted the meat - halal under the Muslim faith and kosher for Jewish people - to be clearly labelled in shops and restaurants.
Today the RSPCA calls for action to end slaughter without stunning. Our poll comes after supermarket and restaurant chains including Pizza Express were accused of failing to make clear that meat in its dishes was halal.
Some 83 per cent of 1,000 adults quizzed for us by One Poll said the law should be changed to ensure all animals killed for food production are stunned before slaughter.
An even larger proportion - 86 per cent - said shoppers should have the right to choose whether to buy meat from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning.
And 86 per cent said all meat on sale should be clearly labelled to indicate whether it is halal or kosher. It is estimated that 114 million animals are killed annually in the UK using the halal method and a further 2.1 million under kosher practices.
Three per cent of all cattle, 10 per cent of sheep and goats and four per cent of poultry are slaughtered without being pre-stunned, according to the RSPCA.
Writing in the Sunday People today, the RSPCA's head of public affairs David Bowles says: "Non-stun slaughter can cause considerable suffering and as a result the organisation believes this practice should be banned once and for all.
"While we believe religious beliefs and practices should be respected, we also feel strongly animals must be slaughtered under the most humane conditions possible."
The Halal Monitoring Committee, an independent charity set up to certify the production of what it calls "genuine halal food", opposes stunning because it can lead to the animal dying before its throat is cut, being unconscious when the Islamic prayer is recited, or because it leads to more blood remaining within the animal.
All three would leave the meat "haram" or impure. But Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim think-tank set up to challenge extremism, said: "All halal meat in the UK should be pre-stunned."
Charlie Catchpole: Page 27 email@example.com
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