Jewish group lobbies on animal deaths

A Jewish religious group, Shechita UK, has launched a campaign to promote its method for slaughtering animals in response to accusations that the sacred Jewish procedure is cruel and inhumane.

The group aims to inform the public about the practice of Shechita through its website, helpline and letter-writing campaign and is lobbying the Government on behalf of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Alongside the Muslim Council of Britain, the group argues that traditional religious slaughter methods do not cause animals unnecessary pain and are in fact more merciful than modern practices. Both the Jewish and Muslim holy methods of slaughter came under threat in June, when the Farm Animal Welfare Council recommended to the Government that all animals should be stunned before slaughter.

British Muslims and Jews will be unable to eat such meat as their religious laws regard stunning animals before slaughter as unacceptable.

Shechita UK appointed Bell Pottinger Consultants director Shimon Cohen to lead its PR after his successful handling of a campaign on the issue in 1985, when the Government last reviewed its laws on the slaughter of animals.

‘There is no contradiction between animal welfare and Shechita,’ said Cohen. ‘Jews are forbidden to cause unnecessary pain to an animal before its slaughter and scientific evidence suggests stunning is extremely painful.’

Cohen has also discussed the issue with the Muslim Council of Britain.

‘Shechita UK came to the mosque and we signed a joint-letter to the Government asserting our right to practise our religions freely and opposing any change of law,’ said Dr A Majid Katme, spokesperson on Halal meat and food for the Muslim Council of Britain.

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