Court rules organic logo cannot be used on ‘halal’ meat without pre-stunning
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has found that EU law do not authorise the placing of the EU's organic production logo on products derived from animals which have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rites without first being stunned.
In 2012, the French association Œuvre d’assistance aux bêtes d’abattoirs (‘OABA’) submitted to the French Minister for Agriculture and Food a request for a ban on the use of the ‘organic farming’ indication in the adverts for and on the packaging of minced beef patties certified ‘halal’ from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning.
The certification body concerned, Ecocert, implicitly refused OABA’s request, and the first instance court with jurisdiction subsequently dismissed the application brought before it by OABA.
The Administrative Court of Appeal, Versailles, France, hearing the appeal, asked the ECJ whether the applicable rules of EU law deriving from, inter alia, the Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, its Implementing
Regulation and the Regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing must be interpreted as permitting or prohibiting approval of the ‘use of the European “organic farming” label’ in relation to products derived from animals which have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rites without first being stunned.
The Court found that the EU legislature declares on several occasions in the legislation at issue its desire to observe a high level of animal welfare in the context of that production method.
It said this is consequently characterised by the observance of enhanced standards with regard to animal welfare in all locations and at all stages of production where it is possible further to improve that welfare, including during slaughter.
The Court recalled that scientific studies have shown that pre-stunning is the technique that compromises animal welfare the least at the time of killing.