EU court rules non-stunned halal and kosher meat can't be marketed as 'organic'
Some religious ritual slaughter involves slitting animals' throats without first knocking them unconscious
The European Union's top court has ruled that the EU organic food logo cannot be used on meat derived from animals that have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rites without first being stunned.
The EU Court of Justice said on Tuesday that such labelling aims to ensure products have been obtained in observance of the highest standards in animal welfare.
The court said the stunning technique significantly reduces animal suffering. Stunning animals is often done through electric shocks or through a bolt in the brain.
A French animal welfare association brought the case in 2012, arguing that halal beef should not be labelled organic.
The ruling states that the practice of ritual slaughter, as part of which an animal may be killed without first being stunned, is authorised by an exception to the general rule in the EU to ensure observance of the freedom of religion.
The case was brought to the EU court by a French animal welfare association in 2012, which argued halal beef should not be labelled organic.
The Food Standards Authority (FSA) estimates about 88pc of animals killed through halal methods are stunned beforehand using techniques acceptable in Islamic law.