I do not support shechita ban, says Nigel Farage


Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said he has never supported a ban on shechita, and neither has his party.

Speaking on the BBC’s Daily Politics show on Tuesday, Mr Farage responded to questions about his party’s confused approach by saying that the anti-shechita policy announced on the Ukip website last month was not the party’s stance.

Mr Farage said: “I never u-turned, this is somebody on the National Executive Committee (NEC) pushing a campaign for animal welfare, which I fully understand, and overstepping the mark.”

The statement on Ukip’s website on February 7, which was later ratified by the party’s NEC, read: "It's about time someone stood up for the rights of the silent majority in the ethical treatment of animals instead of bowing down to those who shout the loudest.”

When presenter Jo Coburn asked whether banning shechita was official Ukip policy, Mr Farage said it “never has been. We’ve been clear on this for years".

He added: “I went and spoke at a big event organised by the Jewish Chronicle two years ago in north London, where I made it clear we’d look into the shechita method of slaughter and we were happy with it.”

Ukip was condemned at a Board of Deputies hustings on Sunday, with representatives of the other four major political parties telling the audience they supported the religious practice.

After the NEC position was announced last month, Ukip’s agriculture spokesman, Stuart Agnew MEP, said shechita was an unintended target of the policy change.

“This isn't aimed at you - it's aimed elsewhere - it's aimed at others. You've been caught in the crossfire; collateral damage. You know what I mean.”

But Ukip's deputy leader, Paul Nuttall MEP, later attempted to distance the leadership from the new policy, writing in the JC that he was "surprised" by the ban agreed by the party's NEC.

But he also argued that shechita would probably not be outlawed under their proposal because of the high standards that exist: "[If] shechita does not cause any undue suffering for the animal then it would fall within the requirements that Ukip has in mind."

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