Nine in ten Europeans request stunning before slaughtering animals



Nine in ten people in Europe oppose the slaughter of animals without prior stunning, according to a poll released by the animal welfare group Eurogroup for Animals.

Stunning animals before slaughter – which aims to render the animal unconscious via gassings, electric shocks or a captive bolt penetrating the animal’s skull – is already mandatory in the European Union.

However, member states can make exceptions to allow “ritual slaughter” in accordance with religious requirements prescribed by the Jewish and Muslim faiths.

Both Jewish and Islamic slaughter methods aim to cause the animal as little suffering as possible, by cutting the animal’s throat with a sharp blade. But because these techniques are centuries old, the technology available today has evolved to provide more effective solutions, such as the stun gun, which animal rights activists see as more “humane.”


Ritual slaughter has been at the center of controversy between those who defend animal welfare and those who defend religious freedom. In the midst of this debate which has divided public opinion for years, some countries, including Slovenia, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and the Belgian regions of Flanders and Wallonia, have decided to ban completely slaughter without stunning, without exception.

Of the 23,000 Europeans surveyed, 90 percent supported the right of individual countries to apply stricter domestic measures to protect animal welfare.

Additionally, 89 percent believe that rendering an animal unconscious before slaughter should be mandatory, and 88 percent believe that stunning should be used even for religious purposes.

The poultry are stunned before slaughter with gas or an electric bain-marie. / Gary John Norman / Getty Creative

The poultry are stunned before slaughter with gas or an electric bain-marie. / Gary John Norman / Getty Creative

“The citizens have spoken clearly in favor of animals, saying that it should be compulsory to make them always unconscious before they are slaughtered”, commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals.

“Now it is time for the EU to follow suit and allow member states to adopt additional measures that ensure higher standards of animal welfare.”

These results prove that an overwhelming majority of Europeans demand that animals that end up as food on their plates be slaughtered painlessly. Although this investigation represents a victory for animal rights activists across Europe, the question of whether the slaughter of animals can ever really be done ‘humanely’ is still a subject at the center of heated debate. .


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