halal meat
For both halal and kosher meat, animals are killed by cutting their throats, sometimes without being stunned beforehand Getty

Meats sold in British shops should be clearly labelled if the animal hasn't been stunned before it was slaughtered in accordance with religious rites, an MP has said.

Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, is calling for shops to better inform customers about how the animal is slaughtered, especially for halal and kosher meat.

He will also ask the government to attempt to persuade the Jewish and Muslim communities to stun more animals before they are killed for their meat.

Preparing both halal and kosher meat involves cutting an animal's throat, sometimes without it being stunned first.

The call comes after the British Veterinary Association (BVA) released a survey suggesting 94% of vets believe UK consumers of meat and fish should be better informed about slaughter methods, with 93% of vets declaring they would not buy meat from non-stunned animals.

Parish is set to voice his views during a Westminster debate on meat slaughtered in accordance with religious rites.

Speaking before the debate, Parish said: "The whole crux of it is to bring about more animals to be stunned at slaughter and we are really trying to seek from the Jewish and Muslim communities ways in which we can stun more animals at slaughter.

"In particular for large animals, and also whether animals can be stunned before slaughter or just after the cut.

"I would also like just a clear label saying this meat has been stunned at slaughter or not stunned at slaughter."

The debate will not end on a vote, but an e-petition set up by the BVA calling for an end to slaughter without pre-stunning for all animals is hoping to trigger a parliamentary debate if it reaches 100,000 signatures.

While the BVA notes that over 80% of UK halal slaughter is pre-stunned, hindquarters of animals killed by non-stun (Shechita) can enter the market unlabelled.

As a result, the group are now calling also calling for clearer slaughter-method labelling and post-cut stunning to improve the welfare of the animals.

BVA president John Blackwell said: "We know that UK consumers care about animal welfare but our members believe that there needs to be better understanding about methods of slaughter and how that impacts on welfare.

"We believe labelling that clearly explains the method of slaughter would help all consumers make informed choices about the products they wish to buy."