Educating the Veterinary Students of Tomorrow
Non Stun Slaughter
Non Stun (Halal) slaughter is a controversial issue in veterinary medicine worldwide. This method of slaughter consists of using a sharp knife to make one swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, carotid artery, trachea and jugular veins. Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood is drained from the carcass after death. During the process, a Muslim will recite a dedication, known as ‘tasmiya’ or ‘shahada’. This method is often challenged by animal rights activists as causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. Muslims disagree and say that Islamic law on killing animals is designed to reduce the pain and distress that the animal suffers.
Current law in the UK requires animals to be stunned pre-slaughter ensuring they are insensible to pain up until the point of death, however some exceptions are allowed for religious purposes. This has caused great debate in our UK parliament. A number of animals slaughtered in the UK for halal meat are pre-stunned electrically before their throats are slit (which many people are unaware of) as the British Halal Food Authority approves the use of a low voltage stun pre slaughter, however it is forbidden to use any methods of stunning that can actually kill the animal (Halal food authority, 2016). Some experts suggest that an animal killed in this way does not suffer if the cut is made quickly and cleanly, because it loses consciousness before the brain can perceive any pain (ICV, 2016). In comparison to this, for the percentage of animals slaughtered for halal without pre stunning, the government’s independent advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council stated that non-stun slaughter results in ‘very significant pain and distress’ (RSPCA, 2016).
For more information, see our references below: