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THE BVA is urging its members to write to their local MEPs to encourage their support for amendments to upcoming European legislation that would introduce labelling of meat from animals slaughtered without stunning.
In June last year, the European Parliament supported draft legislation that would have introduced new requirements on food labelling, including country of origin labelling for all meat, poultry, dairy products and other single ingredient foods. They also agreed that meat from an animal that had been slaughtered without stunning should be labelled as such (VR, June 26, 2010, vol 166, p 801). However, when the draft legislation went to the European Council, it was amended, and the proposal to label meat produced from animals slaughtered without stunning was not progressed (VR, March 5, 2011, vol 168, p 228).
The draft legislation has now moved back to the European Parliament for a second reading. At a meeting on April 19, members of the parliament's Environment Committee amended the legislation again. Among the amendments agreed was the reintroduction of a requirement that meat from animals slaughtered without stunning should be labelled as such.
The draft legislation will be voted on by all MEPs in July. The BVA says that this is ‘a real opportunity to get welfare labelling into European legislation’. It has already lobbied MEPs to support the amendment, stating its position that all animals should be effectively stunned before slaughter, but that, as long as slaughter without stunning is permitted, consumers should have the right to make an informed choice. The BVA believes that such labelling would go a long way to improving consumer choice and animal welfare and would drive down the number of animals slaughtered without stunning.
■ Information on how BVA members can lobby their MEPs on this issue is available on the regional forums of the BVA's community platform, which can be accessed through the BVA website, www.bva.co.uk