EDITOR - As the wife of a hardworking farmer, I write to say how appalled I am at the prospect of Lincolnshire’s livestock being killed at the Skegness slaughterhouse in the accepted halal way.
I do not even want to consider all the implications of the slitting of the throats of animals who are not pre-stunned, still with their hearts beating and lungs pumping, panic in their eyes and completely aware of what is going on.
As farmers, we sit up all night to bring our animals into the world, we care for them, cosset them, feed them and treat them when they are sick.
They deserve the most humane end possible.
It is surely part of our responsibility towards them, both as farmers and consumers.
I don’t care what any religious tome says in this regard, times move on, perceptions of acceptability change and standards climb.
I am aware that there is already planning consent for the slaughtering of animals at the site in Skegness, and obviously this cannot be rescinded, however, is it possible to add or enforce a planning condition that all animals must be slaughtered in the most humane way possible, or precluding halal production?
If photographs of animals having their throats slit, and bleeding out whilst still alive are published and broadcast from Skegness, it will, indeed, be a hard blow for the town, its tourism industry and its animal welfare standards, as well as for the animals themselves.
Halal production is a very unpublicised technique which has slipped into our national meat production quietly, to meet a small, religious demand.
Raising the curtain on it, shining the light of public interest on it and educating people about it will, I believe, lead to less live throat slitting, not more.
I read recently that education authorities nationally are considering purchasing all halal produced meat for consumption in schools, to prevent accidentally feeding humanely slaughtered meat to faiths that would find it unacceptable.
It is unacceptable to me that the majority of UK school children should be fed meat from animals whose throats have been slit whilst still alive.
We do, as a nation, need to put the brakes onto halal meat production before all animals are killed this way. What a step back in time and humanity.
No-one much cares to consider where the meat on their plate, in their sausages and burgers, came from.
Nor indeed, how it was slaughtered. But killed it was, and thus far the UK has gone very, very far to ensure that the killing was clean, quick and humane.
Long may our own Skegness asaughterhouse continue to ensure these standards are upheld.