EU Moves to End Misuse of Religious Exemptions to Stunning16 May 2012
EU - At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council this week, the Swedish delegation briefed the Council on the enforcement of the general requirement to stun animals before slaughter.
Some member states supported the Swedish delegation mentioning a possible overuse of the
possibility to slaughter animals without preliminary stunning in certain member states. The
Commission recalled the existing EU framework and pointed out that its implementation rely on
subsidiarity. Recommendations on ritual slaughtering have been published in 2011 and a study is
ongoing to evaluate the opportunity for informing the consumer on this type of slaughtering.
According to directive 93/119, animals should be stunned before slaughter. However, in the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter requested by certain religious rites this requirement does not apply. Certain member states seem to use largely this possibility of slaughter without stunning although this is not foreseen by the legislator.
Considering that there is an increasing interest among consumers for animal welfare, Sweden called for other member states to take appropriate action to avoid misuse of religious exemptions to stunning. The Commission could initiate for example targeted controls performed by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), prepare an harmonised procedure for approval and control of operators performing unstunned slaughter. Furthermore, Sweden suggests that specific labelling may be a tool.