MANY people in the High Wycombe area are probably unaware of the distressing fact that millions of animals every year have their throats cut in slaughterhouses while fully conscious – and it is legal.

Animals killed for Muslim halal and Jewish kosher meat are exempt from the rule that requires all animals to be stunned before slaughter because their religions have traditionally forbidden stunning. I respect other people's cultures and religions but it cannot be at the expense of animal suffering, which in this case is unimaginable. The law must be changed to make this practice illegal.

The Government's advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, recently investigated this method and concluded that it causes "very significant pain and distress" and that it can take a calf up to two minutes to lose consciousness after its throat is cut. They have recommended that it should be banned but the Government has not yet responded.

Recent research by NOP shows that over 70 per cent of British people also believe that religious slaughter should no longer be allowed but politicians continue to drag their feet.

The good news is the Muslims have responded to animal welfare concerns and around 90 per cent of animals slaughtered for halal meat in the UK are now prestunned – but while millions of animals continue to suffer there is a desperate need to act. Slaughter without prestunning has been banned in Norway, Sweden and New Zealand and it is time for Britain to follow. Please write to your MP and ask for help end religious slaughter.

Find out more: Viva!, 8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, (tel 0117 944 1000).

Ginny Martin Perks Lane Prestwood