A halal group has expressed concern over introduction of new welfare regulations, claiming a lack of time to contribute to the consultation process and calling it a "threat to religious slaughter".

The Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) claimed Defra's publication of its consultation on the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (WATOK) was six months late and "is now being pushed through to be effective in statute in a few months' time".

According to HMC, the delayed publication now only leaves the Muslim and Jewish authorities six weeks to defend religious slaughter before the EU regulation comes into effect. In a statement, it said: "The Muslim and Jewish communities has already called the consultation exercise a monologue, holding deep reservations and fears that its aim are to further curtail religious freedoms of expression, but this is disguised with bias, unproven science and often unfounded animal welfare concerns.

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