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Parliamentary questions
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7 October 2019
E-003127-19
Question for written answer E-003127-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Virginie Joron (ID) , Catherine Griset (ID) , Aurelia Beigneux (ID) , Annika Bruna (ID)

 Subject:  European Way of Life incompatible with slitting animals' throats
 Answer in writing 

On 10 September 2019, Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the Commission, announced that she wanted to lead the European Union in such a way as to ‘protect our European way of life’.

In France, 50% of sheep reportedly have their throats slit during ritual slaughter. In Europe, that equates to around 500 million animals(1). During ritual slaughter, animals are conscious and in agonising pain throughout the procedure, because they are not first stunned as they would be in a normal French slaughterhouse. As slaughterhouses endeavour to keep up with the pace of the slaughter line, animals are often still alive and twitching when they are suspended from mechanical pulleys and skinned alive(2).

In February 2019, the European Court of Justice concluded that this method was incompatible with the principle of ‘organic farming’(3).

1. Does the Commission consider slitting animals’ throats to be compatible with the European Way of Life?

Meat labelling requirements fall under the general consumer information guidelines laid down by the European Union(4).

2. Will the Commission ban this practice or at least make consumers aware of it through the use of dissuasive labelling similar to that employed on cigarette packets?

(1)In the UK alone 12% of the 940 million animals slaughtered each year are said to be killed using halal methods: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/halal-kosher-meat-organic-stunning-eu-court-ruling-a8797761.html
(2)http://www.fondationassistanceauxanimaux.org/combat-abattage-rituel/
(3)http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=211049
(4)https://www.senat.fr/questions/base/2018/qSEQ180203015.html

Original language of question: FR 
Last updated: 22 October 2019Legal notice