The law requires farm animals to be stunned before slaughter. It’s all laid down here as amended here
However, there is an exemption for slaughter by religious methods for the food of Jews and Muslims.
Slaughtering animals by the shechita (for kosher) or halal methods for consumption by people of not of those faiths is therefore illegal. Yet many schools, hospitals, pubs, restaurants and even Wembley Stadium are secretly supplied only halal meat as a convenience to the caterers and management. If you have a lamb korma from a takeaway displaying the halal symbol and you haven't recited the shahadah or you're eating a salt-beef on rye from a deli and you still fully-insulated down below, then an offence has been committed by the slaughter man and abattoir.
Something has to be done. Government and parliament doesn't want to ruffle any feathers as this briefing paper suggests.
In order to start things rolling, today I submitted a FOI request to DEFRA to investigate the extent of the problem:
“How many prosecutions have there been each year since 2000 under The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (SI 731) 1995 as amended by The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (SI 400 for contravention of the exemption for religious slaughter at section 22 provided that it is done accordance with Schedule 12?
Schedule 12 Section 2 states that the exemption is for the food of Jews and Muslims. If meat is produced for persons not of these faiths then an offence has been committed under Section 26 or 25, or both, of the 1995 regulations.
Although I disapprove of the unconventional slaughter methods on moral grounds, I do not seek to have the exemptions repealed because I respect the beliefs of the communities that require slaughter by religious methods but wish that the number of farm animals so slaughtered is kept to the necessary minimum.”
I'll let you know when I receive a reply.