A UK government advisory body has told the government that the method used to slaughter animals by Jews and Muslims should be banned.

The Jewish and Muslim religions insist that animals are slaughtered with a sole cut to the throat. The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) believes that this method is far more cruel than that used by most abattoirs, which involves stunning the animal prior to slaughter with a bolt to the head.

The recommendations from FAWC have been criticised by worshippers at Central London Mosque as being part of a generalised attack against the Islamic way of life, reported BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Kosher and Halal butchers currently have an exemption from the legal requirement that animals be stunned prior to slaughter, and the FAWC is calling on the government to end this exemption. It said that animals can take up to two minutes to bleed to death and suffering is inevitable.

However, Muslims and Jews argue that their method of slaughter results in a sudden loss of blood from the head, causing animals to feel virtually nothing. There is likely to be a strong backlash against any attempt to end the exemption, as this method of slaughter is enshrined in their religion.