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Huge rise in animals killed without stunning
Welfare at slaughter is one of the most pressing health and welfare concern for vets.

Vets raise ‘grave concern’ 

New figures released by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) show a marked rise in the number of animals killed without pre-stunning.

Analysis of the figures by the BVA has revealed that between April and June this year, almost a quarter (24.4 per cent) of sheep and goats had their throats slit without first being made numb to pain.
This is up 15 per cent on 2013, when the EU and UK adopted legislation allowing an exemption for animals that are slaughtered for religious reasons.

The FSA figures also show that the number of chickens being slaughtered with pre-stunning soared from three per cent in 2013 to 18.5 per cent in 2017.

“This huge increase in the number of sheep, goats and poultry that are not stunned or not stunned effectively before slaughter is a grave concern to our profession. Millions of individual animals are affected, making this a major animal welfare issue,” commented BVA president Gudrun Ravetz.

“The supply of meat from animals that have not been stunned massively outstrips the demand from the communities for which it is intended and is entering the mainstream market unlabelled.”

She continues: “In the light of these official figures we reiterate our call for all animals to be stunned before slaughter. If slaughter without stunning is still to be permitted, any meat from this source must be clearly labelled and the supply of non-stun products should be matched with demand.”

According to the BVA’s latest Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, welfare at slaughter is one of the most pressing health and welfare concern for vets.

The BVA has long-campaigned for the re-introduction of legislation that guarantees all animals are stunned before slaughter on welfare grounds. But while laws exist to allow slaughter without pre-stunning, the organisation is calling for comprehensive labelling on any fish or meat products from this source. This will enable customers to understand the choice they are making when buying such products, it adds. 

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Scheme to protect wildlife and reduce flooding

News Story 1
 Natural England has announced a new scheme to improve flood protection, boost wildlife and create 160 hectares of new saltmarsh. The £6 million scheme in Lancashire will effectively unite the RSPB’s Hesketh Out Marsh Reserve and Natural England’s Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. The completed reserve will be the largest site of its kind in the north of England. 

News Shorts
Welfare event to discuss ethical dilemmas faced by vets

Students and ethics experts will host an event on the difficult moral challenges facing vets. Ethical issues, such as euthanasia and breeding animals for certain physical traits, will be discussed by prominent speakers including TV vet Emma Milne and RSPCA chief vet James Yeates. Other topics will include how to tackle suspected animal abuse and the extent of surgical intervention.

The conference will look at how these dilemmas affect the wellbeing of vets, and explore how to better prepare veterinary students for work. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from 30 September - 1 October 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.