New Rules Proposed for Religious Slaughter; Animal Justice Calls for Outright Ban

OTTAWA—National animal law organization Animal Justice is calling for a ban on non-stun slaughter as new draft guidelines on the practice are open for public comment. The draft guidelines have been developed by the Federal/Provincial Animal Welfare Group, which includes the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Under federal law, the default rule is that animals must be rendered unconscious before being bled. However, an exception is provided for ritual slaughter in accordance with Judaic or Islamic law: it is permissible to restrain and cut the throats of fully conscious animals.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is opposed to slaughter without stunning because “it causes avoidable pain.” Even the new draft guidelines concede that pre-slaughter stunning is “the best method to control anxiety, pain and suffering”.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, said: “Globally, there is near-consensus amongst veterinarians that non-stun slaughter causes additional fear and pain to animals. Religious freedom is an important Canadian value, but it should not include the right to harm animals.”

Many countries have already banned or restricted non-stun slaughter, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Australia.

Animal Justice is also calling for a ban on religious sacrifice of animals.

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Comments from the public will be accepted on the draft slaughter-without-stunning standards until January 27.

Animal Justice is encouraging the public to ask Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay to ban slaughter without stunning under the Meat Inspection Act.

For more information, contact:

Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca