The number of sheep slaughtered in Britain without being stunned first has doubled in the past six years to more than three million, official figures show.

Ministers attributed the rise to the Muslim community eating more sheep meat and 'an enhanced religious observance'.

The Government was questioned over what it was doing to minimise the number of animals slaughtered without stunning by Lord Trees, a former president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

During a Lords debate he said the figures showed the UK was moving 'backwards' in this area of animal welfare.

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