If, after raising the issue for almost three decades, the British Veterinary Association was beginning to despair of ever securing front-page coverage for its campaign to ensure all animals are stunned before slaughter, it can breathe a sigh of relief. But probably a very short and shallow one.

Thanks to the interview its new head gave to the Times – picked up by the Today programme and countless others – the matter is now nothing if not high-profile. And, coming weeks after Denmark in effect outlawed kosher and halal slaughter, it is certainly topical, which may explain why the BVA's president-elect, John Blackwell, judged it a more alluring target than even the government's badger cull.

Blackwell's suggestion that the UK "may well" have to follow Denmark's example if British Jews and Muslims refuse to allow animals to be stunned before they are killed did not please the groups concerned. Nor did his assertion that cutting the throat of an animal without stunning it caused prolonged and unnecessary suffering.

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