10 March 1998
Send meat “on the hook” to festivals
By FWi staff
GOVERNMENT has urged exporters and farmers not to send live sheep to France for the Eid-el Kebir festival where inhumane slaughtering practices have occurred in the past.
Elliot Morley, minister for farm animal welfare, said animals exported to France over the next couple of weeks are likely to be slaughtered for the festival on April 7.
“I sincerely hope that this year no British sheep will be subjected to the practices which we have seen at the Eid-el Kebir festival in France in the past,” he said.
“It appears that the abattoirs around Paris cannot cope with the large number of animals that people want to slaughter during the festival. This has led to sheep being inexpertly killed without stunning and sometimes with blunt knives.
“I know that the French authorities regard animal welfare as important and normally operate high standards. Both they and the European Commission are anxious to minimise any suffering. We are writing to both to express support for every effort in this direction.
In the past, Government has said it would like to ban live exports but cannot do so because of European laws. The Governments preferred option is to send exports on the “hook rather than the hoof”, arguing that its more humane as well as generating larger returns for the UK meat industry.
“I believe that British farmers would be dismayed if they knew their stock would be cruelly treated. I know that the National Sheep Association and the National Farmers Union share my concern. I urge those concerned, when deciding whether to sell or trade sheep, to take account of the risk that their animals may be slaughtered in this way,” he added.