Letters to the Editor
23 June 2003
The controversy concerning the ritual or more precisely religious slaughter of animals stems from partly ignorance and partly prejudice. If we look closely and objectively at the issue of slaughter from the angle of pain or discomfort to the animals we would find that on balance the religious slaughter is less painful.
Under the so called humane slaughter the animal has to be stunned by either the Captive Bolt Pistol, or the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) or the Electrical Stunning while the Poultry is stunned by Electrified Water. According to the Animal Welfare activists stunning makes the slaughter painless for the animals. However, many scientists and medical researchers have found that stunning the animal prior to slaughter �is cruel and painful as many animals remain conscious and paralyzed due to improper stunning, bone shattering, suffocation, strangulation, bruise and injuries, depressed skull fracture, brain contamination, toxic effects of the gas, cardiac arrest, ventricular fibrillation, brain splash ... etc�. (Schulze et al) The fact that many of the stunning methods have already been discarded or banned by EU or UK because of the evidence that they were causing more pain to the animals confirms these findings.
The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), in its latest report states, �It is difficult to measure pain and distress during the slaughter process in an objective scientific manner � (page 34). Yet the FAWC has the audacity to conclude and propagate that the animal � feels significant pain and distress� during religious slaughter. Such unsubstantiated accusations on the part of FAWC and others such bodies are providing ammunition to the animal welfare and protection groups to wrongly condemn and agitate against religious slaughter.
In fact by stunning the animal goes through two processes of pain and suffering. The Islamic religious code of practice for slaughtering animals includes basic principles of animal welfare. It stipulates that the animal must be kept fed and watered, the animal must be healthy and uninjured, and the animal must not be killed in front of other animals. No animal shall be killed but for food or if it poses real danger to human life. The killing of animals for sport or fun is prohibited.
The knife used must be razor sharp and its wooden handle secured by three screws to ensure that it does not slip in the hand of the slaughterer and that it severs completely both caroted and jugular arteries effecting transverse incision of the neck thus instantaneously stopping the supply of blood to the brain. And once the supply of blood to the brain is stopped there is no pain to the animal. Hence many scientists and surgeons such as Horder, Hill, Shulze etc., are of the opinion that ritual/religious slaughter causes no pain.
Medical and scientific evidence also confirms that the meat of animals slaughtered without stunning is healthier for human consumption as it does not retains any blood. It is therefore, not only in the interests of animals that they should not be stunned before slaughter but also of the consumers of the meat.