Concerns have been raised following the appointment of George Eustice as the new Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, given Mr Eustice’s past scepticism toward Jewish religious slaughter, known as shechitah.
Mr Eustice has previously supported the labelling of meat that is not stunned before slaughter, which would distinguish ritually slaughtered meat, which is traditionally not pre-stunned, from other meat on sale. He has also called for a free vote for MPs on religious slaughter, saying: “There has been an alarming rise in the proportion of farm animals slaughtered without stunning and our regulations in this area are outdated. We are falling behind other developed countries.”
He has even proposed stricter quotas for kosher meat in the UK, as well as post-cut stunning, by which an animal is stunned immediately following slaughter rather than prior to slaughter, and claimed that this practice has “some rabbinical support”, a contention that has been disputed by communal groups.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “While we congratulate George Eustice on his appointment, his past stated positions on Jewish religious slaughter are deeply concerning to the Jewish community. We call on him to distance himself from past comments and reassure the Jewish community that he will safeguard this important expression of religious liberty.”