July 18, 2013
The Netherlands has used diplomatic pressure to push for an EU law directing that halal and kosher meat is specially labelled when from livestock slaughtered without stunning.
The Netherlands said at Monday's (Jul 15) EU Council of Ministers meeting that, "We consider it essential to inform consumers correctly about the products they purchase. This includes greater transparency about the slaughter method used."
The Dutch noted that the European Commission has agreed to study the issue, writing a report which could spark formal legal proposals. And it added in a statement "it requests the Commission to proceed rapidly with the study, so that suitable proposals on this subject can be presented as quickly as possible."
At the council, some member states supported the Dutch stance underlining "the importance ofâ€¦ informing consumers about stunning of animals."
Other delegations argued "it was not yet clear to what extent EU consumers were interested in receiving such information and that this study should integrate an evaluation of the economic consequences of such measures for the meat sector," said a council note.
The European Commission said the report should be published by next April (2014) and that it would assess "the potential demand for transparency to enable consumers to choose to buy meat only from animals that have been stunned."
Speaking to Globalmeatnews.com, the British Meat Processors Association said it would oppose such an EU law. An official said, "We don't have a formal opinion (on stunning) â€“ but we recognise that religious slaughter not-involving stunning is legal in the UK." However, he added that slaughter without stunning was illegal in some EU member states, such as Sweden.
As for mandatory labelling, he said, "Our view is that we don't believe that consumers want to know the details of how animals are slaughtered. We don't think it would be helpful to go into this area." He stressed that all beef and lamb slaughtered by producers following the UK's Red Tractor standard stunned their livestock before slaughter."