Religious Slaughter of Farm Animals- Shechita and Non-Stun Halal

E.Mansoor made this Freedom of Information request to Farm Animal Welfare Committee

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Farm Animal Welfare Committee did not have the information requested.

Dear Farm Animal Welfare Committee,

I have just concluded watching yesterdays debate in Parliament on" The Stunning of Animals at Slaughter". The debate was 3 hours long and involved many MP's, Ministers, and MP's who sit on various Parliamentary Committees that deal with this issue, including MP's who by way of their various Parliamentary responsibilities have either present or past connections with both the FSA and the FAWC.

Whilst the debate yesterday showed how divided MP's are on this emotive issue, one aspect was clear and agreed on by all those present, and that is that the amount of animals that are mis-stunned per year in the UK goes into the thousands and probably the hundreds of thousands (if not more).

1. Does the FAWC in light of the above now agree that the FSA's collated UK figures of mis-stuns at slaughter for animals, including chickens, cattle and sheep, in 2013, ie 28 in total, is incorrect and indeed substantially incorrect?

2. After yesterdays Parliamentary Debate as above, will the FAWC now be advising DEFRA that the EFSA figures for mis-stunning ie 9% to up to 31% are accurate?

A number of MP's during yesterdays Parliamentary debate (Particularly Dianne Abbot MP, Mathew Offord MP, Mike Freer MP and Mike Gapes MP) expressed strong concern that a minority of those who signed the E-Petion that forced this debate, did so for Racist rather than Animal Welfare reasons. Many MP's at yesterdays debate raised the question of why Shechita is so often targeted when animals slaughtered by the Shechita method make up only a tiny fraction of animals slaughtered in the UK. In light of the above grave concerns expressed yesterday I would ask the FAWC the following;

3. Have the FAWC in setting out balanced and encompassing advice on this issue to DEFRA at any time made DEFRA aware that Jews have a history of practicing Shechita here in the UK that goes back almost a Thousand years? Please provide documented evidence, if any, that the FAWC has made DEFRA aware of this fact? (The first record of Jews practicing Shechita in the UK goes back to the mid 11th Century - see The History of the Jews in England by Prof. C. Roth).

4. I presume that should the FAWC get their stated wish to label all non-stunned meat made compulsory here in the UK that, this compulsory labeling will apply to all Kosher and Halal- non-stunned meat, irrespective of whether that meat was slaughtered here in the UK or imported. Have the FAWC at any time put forward to DEFRA a proposal to make the Labeling of all products that contain feathers from poultry slaughtered using non stun methods, products such as Pillows, Mattresses, Coat Linings (a market that amounts to Billions of Pounds per year) compulsory?( The feathers produced for the above mentioned products mostly come into this Country from Poultry slaughtered in the Far East where not only is stunning not a legal requirement in many of those countries, but in some cases Animal Welfare Regulation and/or Practice, does not exist). Please provide me with documented proof that the FAWC have made the above mentioned proposal to DEFRA,or given such advice to DEFRA.

5. Directly in relation to question 4 above, have the FAWC at any time put forward a proposal to DEFRA, or given advice to DEFRA to make the labeling of all leather products (Car seats, all leather clothes and leather shoes etc) coming from Hides originating in Korea and Mexico, where non- stunning methods of slaughter are prevalent, compulsory? Please provide written documentation that the FAWC has made such a proposal to DEFRA or given such advice to DEFRA.

6. Presuming that the figures concerning mis-stunning of UK animals at slaughter are in line with with the EFSA figures, as the politicians at the above mentioned Debate yesterday seemed to concede to, have the FAWC proposed to DEFRA or given advice to DEFRA that all Leather or Poultry Feather products that originate from UK mis-stunned Animals and go on to be used as part of a finished product to be sold here in the UK be labelled as such? E.g this car seat came from the hide of a UK animal that was Mis-stunned at point of slaughter. Surely as the FAWC state "the purchaser has a right to know". Please provide written evidence of such a proposal or such advice having being made to DEFRA by the FAWC.

7. Prior to me writing here, were the FAWC aware that last year at the International Whaling Conference (IWC) held in Slovenia, that the UK (our representative is appointed to the IWC directly by DEFRA) voted FOR the continuation of Aboriginal Whaling in Greenland?The Eskimo community of that country are allowed an exemption to hunt and kill whales due to what the IWC Charter terms the Eskimo communities' "Cultural and Nutritious needs". These Whales are an internationally protected Species. International observers have stated that these Whales can take up to one and a half hours to die after slaughter. The cattle and Poultry slaughtered by the Shechita method here in the UK are not. Much of the whale meat slaughtered in Greenland ends up in tourist Restaurants. So to recap, were the FAWC aware, prior to me writing here, that DEFRA had last year voted FOR the continuation of Greenland whaling at the IWC Conference ?

In closing I would ask you to note that I have in my possession every FAWC Publication since the FAWC's "Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing 2003". I have been unable however to locate the specific information requested here in any of those publications.

The above requests for information are made under both the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 as well as the Freedom of information Act 2000.

Many Thanks

E. Mansoor

Information Requests (DEFRA), Farm Animal Welfare Committee

1 Attachment

<<20150305 RFI7326 FAWC questions Acknowledgement.pdf>>

Dear E Mansoor,

Please see the attached acknowledgement of your request for information.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Shotton

Defra FOIA and EIRs Team

[1][email address]

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

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Mustaf Hassan left an annotation ()

Information Requests (DEFRA), Farm Animal Welfare Committee

Dear E Mansoor,

Please accept my apologies for the delay responding to your request for
information about  Farm and Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) advice relating
to religious slaughter of farm animals - shechita and non-stun halal.  It
is not our usual practice to take longer than the time allowed for
response in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and I am sorry that
on this occasion we have not been able to meet our usual standards. We are
currently experiencing a high number of FOIA requests making it difficult
to respond within the deadlines in some cases.  Your request is being
progressed as quickly as possible and we expect to be able to respond to
you in the week commencing Monday 29 March 2015.  If for some reason this
proves impossible, we shall let you know.

Yours sincerely,

David  Waller

David Waller

Defra FOIA and EIRs Team

Area 4C, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

[1][email address]

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform the
sender.
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked for
known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no responsibility
once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
lawful purposes.

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Information Requests (DEFRA), Farm Animal Welfare Committee

Dear E Mansoor,

I am sorry that I sent my email of 22 March to you in error as the FOIA
deadline for your request was not last Friday, as I had thought when
sending my email, but is, in fact, today.  I confirm that we will be
responding to your request later today and so we will meet the FOIA
deadline.  I apologize for any confusion caused by my email of 22 March.

Yours sincerely,

David  Waller

David Waller

Defra FOIA and EIRs Team

Area 4C, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

[1][email address]

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform the
sender.
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked for
known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no responsibility
once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
lawful purposes.

References

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Information Requests (DEFRA), Farm Animal Welfare Committee

1 Attachment

Dear E Mansoor,

<<RFI 7326 - response.pdf>>

Please see the attached response to your request for information, which we
received on 24 February 2015, about advice provided by the Farm Animal
Welfare Committee (FAWC) to Defra with regards to the stunning of animals
at slaughter.

Yours sincerely,

David  Waller

David Waller

Defra FOIA and EIRs Team

Area 4C, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

[1][email address]

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform the
sender.
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked for
known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no responsibility
once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
lawful purposes.

References

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1. mailto:[email address]