Stunned before slaughter: what we know about halal meat sold in the UK

8th May 2014

The presence of halal meat in shops and restaurants has been big news today.

The Daily Mail claimed that "more than 70% of all New Zealand lamb in supermarkets is halal".

This could leave consumers unsure about whether the meat had been stunned before it was slaughtered; according to the House of Commons Library there isn't a consensus on whether halal rules require this.

Some, including the RSPCA, are opposed to slaughter without pre-stunning on the grounds it can cause unnecessary suffering.

So what do we know about the way the animals are slaughtered?

Figures from the Food Standards Agency say that in 2012 of those animals slaughtered in the UK according to halal rules 84% of cattle or calves, 81% of sheep and goats, and 88% of poultry were stunned before slaughter.

But some of the meat sold may come from slaughterhouses abroad, meaning its not clear precisely how much of the halal meat sold in UK shops and restaurants has been stunned.

The British Retail Consortium has today said that all 'own-brand' meat sold at major UK supermarkets has been pre-stunned.