Animal Aid

A Statement on Religious Methods of Slaughter

Posted 10 December 2010

European Ministers have rejected plans, supported by the European parliament, that would have required all Halal and Kosher meat from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning to be labeled as such.

Animal Aid regards religious methods of slaughter as brutal, vicious, enormously painful and, therefore, unsupportable. We promote an ethical diet that is animal-free. We supported EU moves to label meat from animals who were killed without pre-stunning because we welcome maximum transparency. At the same time, meat from pre-stunned animals - killed in mainstream ‘humane’ slaughterhouses - should also come with a clear warning, declaring that the animals suffered in order that their butchered flesh be marketed. (It should be noted that while a percentage of Halal-killed animals are pre-stunned - the declared proportions range from 30 - 70% - the Shechita authorities do not permit stunning.)

Jewish and Muslim religious authorities assert that death by the Shechitah or Halal methods, without pre-stunning, is instantaneous and painless but evidence demonstrates that this is fanciful nonsense. Animals often have to be cut numerous times and can be struggling to regain their feet for as long as two minutes. Other evidence points to such problems as occlusions that prevent the blood draining from the brain and thus the animal remains conscious for a considerable period.

As indicated, mainstream ‘humane’ slaughter is also deeply problematic. Animal Aid’s recent undercover filming in eight randomly selected ‘humane’ slaughterhouses, in which electric and captive bolt stunning devices are used, produced unanswerable evidence that incompetence, equipment failures and extreme suffering - often deliberately inflicted - are commonplace. Our footage shows animals being repeatedly kicked in the face, thrown about, as well as incompetent and even sadistic use of electric stunning tongs. We are unconvinced that the electric stunning tongs, even when used ‘properly’, ‘render an animal instantly insensible’, as claimed. Rather, they might simply deliver an agonising, immobilising electric shock. Animal Aid believes that attacks on Halal and Shechita ‘ritual’ slaughter methods, by people who refuse also to speak out against ‘humane’ slaughter, are often rooted in bigotry and hypocrisy.

By whatever method animals are killed, there is no mercy in a slaughterhouse. The animals are traumatised. They don’t want to be killed but they are killed… bloodily, painfully and for no good reason. We do not need to eat animal flesh or dairy products to survive. That’s why Animal Aid urges people to adopt an animal-free diet.

Andrew Tyler, Director

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