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Conference Speech by Stuart Agnew

Arguing to allow non-stun religious slaughter, Mr. Agnew made a number of points which need to be examined carefully.  Do they make sense to you?  The transcript of this part of the speech is here, and heard here.

Relevant articles:

UKIP policy change from anti- to pro-halal slaughter

Anti-Sharia but Pro-Halal?

If you can stomach it, watch this video.  Instant unconsciousness when using stunning, contrasts the clear distress that cattle and sheep suffer when their throat is cut while still fully conscious.  The RSPCA and British Veterinary Association oppose this avoidable cruelty, judge for yourself.

We must examine Stuart Agnew’s arguments.

SA: “A lot of UKIP members keep saying to me ‘come on Stuart why don’t you just ban it? UKIP can just ban all of this and we’ll go back to what we had’ And yes I understand the sentiments that are based around animal welfare, but I believe if we were to go down that route we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot”

No, it is called “democracy”.  There is overwhelming support among grassroots members for a humane policy, including a ban on non-stun.  I have spoken at three branch meetings; it was nearly unanimous to ban it.  Fundamentally, is UKIP democratic or not?  The noisy handful of religious lobbyists within the party carry more weight than the many grassroots activists.

SA: “You will not stop the demand for Halal meat in this country just because we don’t use the slaughter method here”

Yes, you will.  Muslims are permitted to eat non-Halal meat if Halal is not available.

SA: “if we are signed up to WTO we cannot ban imports just because we don’t like the way they were produced.”

Then the WTO must change its rules – it must be lobbied as a parallel activity.  This should not prevent us banning non-stun in the UK.  We banned slavery, and then pressurised the rest of the world to follow.  We did not avoid banning slavery just because other countries were continuing.  Decent principles must prevail.

SA:  “20% of all the sheep meat that is produced in this country is consumed by British Muslims. It is an enormous market and if we suddenly lose it, it’s going to have a big impact on British agriculture.”

This is a one-sided argument.  If the UK implements a humane policy, building a reputation of good meat quality, there would be increased export potential.

SA: “He [small farmer] is also going to be hurt by it, by the massive increase in … sheep rustling prior to a Muslim festival. It’s getting very bad news indeed now …”

A nonsense argument.  Stealing sheep is a criminal offence.  Unapproved slaughtering is too.  Give stiff penalties for such offences.  Michael Gove is introducing long custodial sentences for animal cruelty.

SA: “I think we will see Muslims purchasing areas of northern England and Scotland and running a complete underground sheep operation, no subsidies so there’ll be no inspection of the land. Slaughtering in the bothies and the farm buildings. No meat inspection.”

This criminal activity would need to be stamped out.  The public abhor cruelty, and would report suspicious activity.

SA: “I don’t want to go down this route is because of the impact on the Jewish community. The Jews also have non-stun religious slaughter. But their attitude to this is very very different. They say that God says it’s alright to kill one of my creatures as long as there is no suffering involved. .. They kill an animal without any pain at all.”

Where is the evidence that cutting the throat, however sharp the knife, causes no pain?  The RSPCA and BVA oppose it on cruelty grounds.  Political parties should base policy upon scientific evidence.

SA:  “if we have this ban on Halal we can’t say one law for Jews and the other for Muslims.”

Indeed so.  And we cannot have different laws for religious and non-religious abattoirs either.  Is UKIP serious about “one law for all” or not?

SA:  “The law says you must stun before you kill unless that meat is going to be eaten by either a Muslim or a Jew and they must be practicing. Well, there is Halal meat all over the place.”

This is a good point.  The existing law has to be enforced, such that non-Muslims are prevented from eating Halal, and non-Jews are prevented from eating Kosher.  It would automatically cause retailers to implement proper labelling, and checks of customers.

SA: “Well that [selling of kosher slaughtered meat to the general public] has got to stop, I will fight the Jew’s corner up until the point of where they want to break the law and then I won’t, they’re going to have to deal with this themselves.”

An inconsistency of argument.  If SA thinks that banning Kosher non-stun would be anti-Semitic, then wouldn’t this be regarded as such too?

SA:  “We need to label. Label properly.”

Labelling is a side issue.  It would be implemented automatically by retailers if the current law was upheld such that non-Muslims and non-Jews were prevented from buying it.  No need for additional legislation.

SA:  “actually 24% of all the Halal meat that’s killed in this country is pre-stunned.”

This is a half-truth – look up “taqiyya”.  They use the inadequate “stun to stun” method.  UKIP should press for the most effective method, which currently is “stun to kill”.

SA: “some illicit demonstration’s done whereby an animal’s been stunned and everyone stood back and it’s got up and walked away. Once they’ve seen that, they’re happy that stunning is alright.”

This demonstrates that “stun to stun” is inadequate.  An animal can regain consciousness before the blood has drained out, and still feel pain.

SA:  “And we can have CCTV in the abattoirs – that’s a UKIP policy recently stolen by the Tories, what’s new there?”

Better hurry up, or they might ban non-stun too while UKIP is still dithering.  Michael Gove is already tightening up on animal cruelty laws.

If UKIP is to retain any relevance beyond Brexit then it must honestly address matters such as this.  Appeasement never works. Should UKIP listen to the religious lobbyists, or to the grassroots members?

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28 Comments on Conference Speech by Stuart Agnew

  1. Either we are a civilised race or we are not. Of course we must make a stand on this or we are cowards. And this is where the Left have such stunning double standards; they whine about fox hunting, which is wrong but microscopic compared to the industrial scale killing of animals for ridiculous ‘religious’ reasons.

  2. Non-stun slaughter is inhumane. That is undeniable. I am disgusted that UKIP would even contemplate supporting this barbaric practice in the UK. If religious groups wish to eat animals kiiled this way, they must be made to import the meat.

    • Thankyou Rod for the supportive comment. It is truly barbaric.

      I know Rod. He has put in considerable effort for the party as a branch chairman. Those at the top of the party really must listen to decent members such as Rod.

  3. Hello
    I resigned over 12 months ago for various reasons but one being the position of UKIP on hal hal slaughter. I have viewed the video and it is horrific.If it is against the law to pursue foxes to be killed by hounds it surely cannot be correct to allow a animal to have its throat cut and die in this horrific way.These practices should be made illegal and UKIP should make a firm stand and support the majority position on this. Even worse are retailers colluding with this barbaric practice by not labeling the meat.

  4. We are facing a huge uphill task. Firstly to persuade the policy makers within UKIP to heed the wishes of grassroots members.

    Then to communicate with the public, and gather support.

    Then to put pressure on the food industry. Even Waitrose!

    “In 2010, the Mail on Sunday revealed schools, hospitals and restaurants were serving halal meat to unwitting customers.
    Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield and the Co-op all said they stocked meat slaughtered according to Islamic tradition without letting customers know.
    Fast-food chains including Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, KFC, ­Nando’s and Subway are also using halal meat without ­telling customers, it was revealed.”

    In parallel, we must persuade our MPs. And if they refuse to be supportive, stand candidates against them, and make it a campaign issue. UKIP can win seats, but must be ruthless.

  5. Many thanks for the supportive comments.

    This issue is the litmus test of whether the party is serious when it states that there must be “one law for all”.

    Having proper labeling may be a good thing, however it should not be at the expense of:

    Firstly ensuring that the current law is properly implemented. In doing so there would be a significant reduction in the number of animals killed cruelly. However, this should only be seen as a stepping stone to the main aim: to abolish non-stun and inadequate “stun to stun” entirely.

    In parallel, the issue of the WTO, which Mr Agnew noted, needs addressing too.

  6. Well done Hugo for keeping this vital subject in people’s minds. UKIP has rolled over on this one. So much for being a principled party, different from other parties.
    Alas, I cannot see the current leadership showing much interest. I was an AM Waters supporter. She would have made a difference, despite SA.

  7. There is no rational argument for the medieval, barbaric slaughter of animals. There is no excuse for allowing it to be force fed to the general population by stealth. By working together we can stop this. There is no compromise, cruelty to animals is wrong full stop Paula Walters UKIP NEC

  8. It sounds like UKIP need to sharpen up their act and consult the membership on this issue – or perhaps the new leader, to find out what the Lib Dems think?

  9. Please,please,please would everyone sign…and share far and wide… petition Parliament 200131 which calls for an end to the animal cruelty laws exemptions given to halal and shachita slaughter houses. The government’s response to it when it reached 10,000 signatories is appalling. There is more information on yesterday’s letters and many comments on UKIP Daily.

    • I have signed this petition Ceri, and i would urge others to do so.
      I have also emailed my MP to tell him that i have signed the petition and asked for his support (probably unlikely), but if you feel strongly enough to sign the petition, don’t let your MP off the hook!

  10. Take the lead, like we did with banning slavery worldwide? I like that- UKIP should put the UK at the front of a worldwide movement to ban non stun slaughter. It’s time both faiths came to terms with reality ( yours truly has Jewish blood BTW) by all means say the prayers but put animal welfare first if you are going to eat meat.
    What’s wrong with a WW movement? Happened with changing the dictionary definition of marriage, even in Catholic countries – no one seemed to give a toss about the sensibilities of people of faith then

    • William Wilberforce was also instrumental in setting up the SPCA, which later became the RSPCA. I am sure that he would have campaigned on the non-stun issue too.

      We should be proud that our nation has a long history of doing the right thing. Although it would be better if it could be done a bit quicker! It took years to put an end to slave trading, and even longer to finally end slave ownership. Only in relatively recent times have Islamic countries officially ended it – not because of any internal desire to do so, but only due to external pressure. (In the Koran the phrase “that which your right hand possesses” is referring to slaves owned by a Muslim man. Islam normalises evil behaviour such as this.)

      We have decency on our side. We must clarify exactly what we are demanding, and then put the argument forcefully.

  11. As a secular atheist, I demand that my country protect me (freedom) FROM religion. I have no objection to ‘freedom OF religion’, just as other (non divine) ideologies (socialism) are accommodated. A line however, has to be drawn in the sand. Selling me foodstuffs that have been ‘approved’ by any kind of witch-craft, is not keeping me free FROM religion. That should be the first step. Deny halal the larger market. That will effect costs and Muslims themselves will have incentive to chose. Money (cost) is always the best way to dampen the hold of any religion…

  12. Thank you Brenda, you ask a hugely important question.
    Halal slaughter is indefensivable.
    The only argument to support it seems to be an illogical wish to allow people who follow mediaeval practices, linked very loosely to a mediaeval cult, to break the established law of this Country.
    Stuart Agnew has to declare whether he has a vested interest in this issue.

  13. How long do we have to attempt to get Ukip to listen to the members? I don’t think any of us will live long enough! Well written, as always Hugo, and thank you. Mr Agnew lives on planet Zog, whilst he and too many others like minded as he are in Ukip we will remain, and I very sadly say this, a nothing concrete, nancy, non hearing, non accepting bunch of losers. We are fast losing our values, values we and our forfathers are/were so proud of. We need number 1- Stun to kill – resulting in immediate death. All produce on UK to be labelled very simply with a Union flag and Produce of UK. All will then KNOW humane slaughter has taken place.Number 2 – Choice for minority groups in the form of strictly labelled imports. Those choosing to purchase these foods can pay their own Zakat tax (which is paid SOLELY to Islam). Number 3 – Exports of humanely slaughtered meats to countries crying out for it. Our amazing farmers and our farming industry could get a boost like never before. Win, win, win! Agnew has noooooo idea. Wake up Ukip before it’s too late.

    • Amorée, many thanks for all that you have done for this campaign. We have to win this argument, for the sake of UKIP, and more importantly for the sake of the nation and for decency.

  14. The NEC did have a ban policy for about 1 day, till Nigel, who hadn’t been there, found out… ?

    • Do you think that was because he didn’t want to risk offending Richard Desmond by banning kosher slaughter, at a time when Desmond was about to donate £1million?

      • I have a huge admiration for Nigel, and all the work he has done to get us out of the EU.

        In my opinion he made a serious mistake when he listened to religious lobbyists within UKIP (Shneur Odze and Tariq Mahmood) rather than to the near unanimous grassroots members opposing non-stun.

  15. Stuart Agnew is a farmer, is he not?

    He has sheep and poultry, does he not?

    It would be interesting to know whether any of it goes to non stun abbatoirs for the religious meat trade.

  16. An excellent dismantling of Stuart Agnew’s conference speech. Thank you, Hugo.

  17. Islam is a mediaeval puzzle wrapped in an ancient enigma.
    Muslims’ do not have to cover themselves from head to foot, they choose to.
    Muslims’ can eat non halal slaughtered meat, they wish not too.
    We should not pander to bigots predjucides.

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