Since 2011, the number of sheep and goats slaughtered without being stunned in the United Kingdom has more than doubled. According to the Vet Times, more than 3.3 million sheep and goats were slaughtered without proper stunning, meaning they were fully conscious and able to feel pain.
Professor Lord Trees, former president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, states:
That is three million sheep that had their throats cut without being rendered unconscious first. Does the minister agree, in that aspect of animal welfare, we are going backwards?
We’d certainly argue it is a huge step backwards.
A survey for England and Wales conducted by the Food Standards Agency estimated that last year 184 million birds and 21,000 cows were also slaughtered without an effective stun.
And we've seen firsthand what happens to animals who haven't been effectively stunned. In 2016, a brave Mercy For Animals investigator filmed horrific cruelty at Mexican government-owned slaughterhouses. Deemed one of the most harrowing and disturbing in MFA’s history, the investigation exposed cows and pigs cut open while still conscious and able to feel pain.
According to the Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority, India is one of the world’s largest exporters of sheep and goat meat. The majority of the animals are in the Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Hilly regions of North and Eastern Himalayas. In 2017 alone, India exported over 22,060 metric tons of sheep and goat meat.
Sadly, like most animals raised for meat, the sheep in India were not only violently slaughtered but subjected to cruel mutilations and filthy conditions.
A few weeks after they are born, lambs endure “tail docking,” an agonising mutilation performed without anaesthetics that often leads to infections, chronic pain, and rectal prolapses.
Mother sheep form strong bonds with their babies and are deeply caring. They can even recognise the individual calls of their lambs who have wandered too far away. At factory farms, these bonds are cruelly broken when lambs are ripped away from their mothers at just a few days old.
Lambs are typically slaughtered at around six to eight months of age, a mere fraction of their natural lifespans.
Watch this heartbreaking undercover footage captured by Swiss animal rights group Pour l’Egalité Animale of a goat and sheep slaughterhouse.
While killing animals without effectively stunning them is unspeakably cruel, so is killing them for mere taste. The best thing we can do to end suffering for farmed animals is to leave them off our plates.
Want to learn more about vegan versions of mutton? Click here.
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