NFU livestock board chair Charles Sercombe has promised to keep pushing for an end to non-stun religious slaughter.
Mr Sercombe told NFU conference he had been approached by a growing number of union members who were ‘nervous’ about the rising amount of non-stun slaughter, which had increased from 10 to 25 per cent in the sheep sector over the past five years.
“We have got to try and be brave here”, he said.
“We cannot keep putting this in the ‘too difficult to do’ pile, and we have got as an industry to try and find a solution.
“I have one. I believe we should be able to demonstrate recoverable stun, the same as they do in Australia and New Zealand, and we should be able to do that to the Muslim population in particular.
“All we need is a Home Office licence to do it, but unfortunately the brick walls in Defra and the Food Standards Agency are too great for us to climb over at the minute.
“I believe we should lobby and lobby and lobby again, because this offers a solution to the problem and we could all benefit from it.”
Use of an electric head stun, which passes electricity through an animal’s brain but does not kill it, is accepted as halal by some Muslims.
Other methods of stunning, such as head-to-back and captive bolt, are non-halal because there is a possibility of instant death.
Mr Sercombe’s call came as a leading humanist charity called on Government to ban non-stun halal and kosher slaughter in its upcoming Animal Welfare Bill.