The Madrid Metropolitan has obtained shocking footage of a Spanish slaughterhouse that is using legal loopholes in order to bypass EU regulations on the humane slaughter of animals.
Some slaughterhouses are able to bypass EU laws requiring them to stun animals, on religious grounds. However, according to an animal rights group, consumers are purchasing this meat without knowing the brutal way in which the animals were killed.
Igualdad Animal, an international animal rights group, is calling for a complete ban on licences that permit Spanish slaughterhouses to be exempt from laws requiring the stunning of animals.
The footage was secretly recorded at unspecified slaughterhouses in Spain and posted on social media along with a statement by Igualdad Animal on Tuesday, 9th November.
The video shows sheep hung upside down shaking with fear as the knife approaches their throats and pigs being beaten as they are prepared for slaughter.
According to Igualdad Animal, European Union laws require all slaughterhouses to stun animals before they are killed, but exemptions can be made for religious reasons.
The exemptions are primarily granted to slaughterhouses providing Halal and Kosher meat. In such slaughterhouses, animals have their throats slit before bleeding to death.
Out of the 700 slaughterhouses in Spain, an astonishing 28 percent of them have a licence to slaughter animals in line with religious practices and, therefore, without stunning them.
Much of this meat ends up on the plates of consumers who have no idea that it came from such slaughterhouses, claims Igualdad Animal.
These slaughterhouses can be found across the country and are reportedly growing in number every year.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in December 2020 that individual member states are entitled to prohibit the slaughter of animals without stunning and not to allow any exceptions in this regard.
Igualdad Animal is calling on the Spanish government to remove the religious exemption law and instead require the use of ‘reversible stunning’.
The technique was described by the CJEU in a position paper in May as one that reduces the possibility of the animal dying during the stunning process.
The CJEU claimed this technique allows “a fair balance to be struck between the importance attached to animal welfare and the freedom of Jewish and Muslim believers to manifest their religion.”
Some EU states have already stopped permitting the use of exceptions by slaughterhouses including Slovenia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and, most recently, Greece.
The Greek government ruled that the slaughter of animals without stunning them first was unconstitutional and, therefore, had to be banned.
Javier Moreno, the co-founder of Igualdad Animal, said: “Killing animals without stunning them is cruel and inhumane. Animal welfare laws should not provide for exceptions based on religion or tradition.”
He added that consumers have a right to know what type of meat they are buying and should be able to choose if they do or do not want to encourage these religious slaughters in Spain.
The government has a responsibility to make sure consumers are informed about where their meat comes from and how it was slaughtered, stated the organisation.
The organisation has launched an online petition that has, at the time of writing, gathered over 15,000 signatures calling on the government to meet the demands laid out in its statement.