MPs and animal welfare campaigners are putting added pressure on the government to ban religious slaughter after a disturbing undercover video emerged from a halal abattoir.
The undercover video from the Bowood Lamb abattoir in Thirsk, North Yorkshire revealed workers kicking around animals and throwing them violently over each other before a worker is seen slashing a sheep's throat repeatedly.
The "horrific" video footage has already led to the sacking of one slaughterman and three other workers being suspended.
Despite the company claiming animal welfare is "its highest priority", a senior Conservative has told The Independent the Government should "bite the bullet" and ban the religious slaughter of animals unless they are pre-stunned.
Sir Roger Gale MP, a former vice chair of the Conservative Party said: "This highlights the very real concern over halal and kosher slaughter. My impression is that all political parties have fought and fight shy of addressing the issue because of the concern not to upset certain faith groups.
"The bottom line is there is no justification for ritual slaughter without pre-stunning. We should bite the bullet and legislate if necessary and simply say point blank there will be no ritual slaughter without pre-stunning."
Over 100,000 people have signed a petition started by the British Veterinary Association to bring an end to slaughtering animals without pre-stunning.
In response, the Government has said that while it, "encourages the highest standards of welfare at slaughter and would prefer to see all animals stunned before they are slaughtered for food ... we also respect the rights of the Jewish and Muslim communities to eat meat prepared in accordance with their religious beliefs."
Muslim and Jewish abattoirs are exempt from laws mandating animals to be stunned before being slaughtered.
Neil Parish MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on animal welfare believes, however, that an outright ban on religious slaughter would not solve at hand.
"There is a danger that an outright ban on religious slaughter would not improve the welfare of animals at the point of slaughter," said Parish.
"Driving our halal meat industry abroad to countries without our robust animal welfare standards and our supply chain traceability might result in more animals being slaughtered without stunning."
Meanwhile, a report by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee released today (3 February) and the Muslim Council of Britain both stressed the need for CCTV cameras in abattoirs.