A senior Ukip member has claimed that the party’s ban on non-stun slaughter, announced today, was against his wishes.
MEP Stuart Agnew, the party’s agricultural spokesman, said: “We are a democratic party and I couldn’t get enough support. They didn’t like my tolerance of non-stunning.
“They have decided to override me on this occasion. I’m not going to say they were wrong.”
But Mr Agnew said the policy was not meant to target shechita.
“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.”
Food Standards Agency statistics indicate that kosher and halal abattoirs collectively cut the throats of 2.4 million sheep and goats without stunning them first.
The latest FSA figures, from 2013, indicated that animals killed by the shechita method accounted for only 1 per cent of the total.
Ukip is the first political party to announce that it would back a ban on non-stun slaughter, advocated by animal rights groups including the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association.
Yesterday, the party’s national executive committee voted against Mr Agnew’s suggestion that stunning be permitted as long as kosher and halal meat was labelled.
Mr Agnew said he believed that the policy was put forward to win votes ahead of the general election.
He said: “There are more votes to be gained, and I expect that’s what they were looking for.
“We’ll have lost the Jewish vote for sure, they won’t support us now for sure – we won’t get any now.
“But we might gain votes elsewhere – and that’s what they’re after, general election votes."
He added: “It’s an emotional issue.”