by Ryan Walsh
Nationalist Alternative condemns the exemption to pre-stunning slaughter methods extended on religious grounds to Kosher and Halal as a further example of multiculturalism in action.
We have previously published an article on live export and our support for pre slaughter stunning Australia wide in an effort to improve animal welfare.
On the weekend October 29-30,2011 an article titled ‘ Religious abattoirs dodge stun law’ appeared on page 7, The Nation in The Weekend Australian (October 29-30,2011). This article describes the decision by primary industry ministers including Federal Labour Minister Joe Ludwig to not impose mandatory pre stunning in all abattoirs Australia wide.
Pre stunning before slaughter aims to ensure the animal is rendered unconscious and insensible to pain.
Instead in what can only be described as timid governance unsure of its sovereignty, we are pandering to minorities which in this instance is supporters of Kosher/Halal slaughter amongst sections of Australia’s Jewish and Muslim population and possibly elsewhere.
Twelve abattoirs will be provided with exceptions which according to the article will see up to 250,000 alive and conscious sheep, cattle, and hens killed a year without first being rendered unconscious before their throats are cut.
We condemn such practices as barbaric, inhumane, cruel and a affront to Australian morality and further examples of multiculturalism NOT enriching Australian culture. Some fellow opponents of ritual slaughter may baulk or sidestep our inclusion of multiculturalism with this issue but they are clearly linked particularly when some supporters claim their religion or culture demands/obligates this practice and that they would be discriminated against or lead ‘less fulfilling lives’ if not allowed to continue.
Kosher and Halal slaughter requires the animal to be alive to facilitate the draining of the blood and proponents argue the throat slitting is humane because the animal dies quickly or some claim instantaneously.
It is claimed that due to the ‘sharp’ blade the animals are killed in one stroke. With the animal collapsing almost immediately due to an abrupt outpouring of blood thanks to a clean and complete severing of both jugular veins and cateroid arteries.
It has also been claimed, in some articles or commentary, that ritual slaughter is in fact more humane and painless than mandatory pre stun captive bolt conventional methods.
Analysis of the ritual slaughter proponents assertions
We will provide opposing evidence below including quotes that include eye witness accounts as well as hard science to disprove the above claims.
We believe the evidence against ritual slaughter is so overwhelming that assertions and articles presenting it as humane seem like ignorance at best and at worst deliberate equivocating in order to mislead and provide partial truths. All in a desperate attempt to avoid the inevitable banning or shunning of the practice, at least in Western countries that do not share these cultural views.
Claim: Ritual slaughter involves instantaneous, painless ‘quick’ death or where pain occurs it is minimal.
Proof of pain leads to calls for ban on ritual slaughter. Oct 2009.
…But the new research suggests otherwise. Dr Craig Johnson and his colleagues at New Zealand’s Massey University reproduced the Jewish and Islamic methods of slaughter in calves. The calves were first anaesthetised so although their pain responses could be detected, they wouldn’t actually feel anything. They were then subjected to a neck incision. A pain response was detected for up to two minutes following the cut, although calves normally fall unconscious after 10 to 30 seconds.
The team then stunned the calves five seconds after cutting their throats: the pain signal detected by electroencephalography ceased immediately.
Johnson told the New Scientist he thought this work was “the best evidence yet that [ritual slaughter] is painful”. However, he observed that the religious community “is adamant animals don’t experience any pain so the results might surprise them”.
The findings have earned Johnson the inaugural Humane Slaughter Award from the Humane Slaughter Association. Dr James Kirkwood, the charity’s chief executive, said: “This work provides significant support for the value of stunning animals prior to slaughter to prevent pain and distress.”
Adam Rutherford, an editor of Nature, wrote on the Guardian website: “It suggests that the anachronism of slaughter without stunning has no place in the modern world and should be outlawed. This special indulgence to religious practices should be replaced with the evidence-based approaches to which the rest of us are subject.”
Some European countries, such as Sweden, require all animals to be stunned before slaughter with no exception for religions. 1 [emphasis added]
Time to loss of brain responsiveness – The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) found in its 2003 Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing found that by observing brain function the “evidence shows that sheep become insensible within 5-7 seconds of the cut”, and adult cattle may take between 22 and 40 seconds to become insensible.”
” Furthermore, a separate study of brain response after Shechita (Jewish ) slaughter of cattle compared to that after captive-bolt stunning indicated responses for up to 60 seconds in the former and no response in the latter ” 2 [emphasis added]
Claim: In Ritual slaughter ‘ knife throat cuts are not painful and instead quick and efficient with a sharp blade”
Pain and distress during exsanguination – The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) found in its 2003 Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing found
“When a very large transverse incision is made across the neck a number of vital
tissues are transected including: skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries,
jugular veins, major nerve trunks (e.g. vagus and phrenic nerves) plus numerous minor nerves. Such a drastic cut will inevitably trigger a barrage of sensory information to the brain in a sensible (conscious) animal. We are persuaded that such a massive injury would result in very significant pain and distress in the period before insensibility supervenes.” 2 [emphasis added]
more on claims of the ‘ lack of pain’ involved with throat cutting
” That lead me to look-up studies on the agony of human suicide, as these studies are not likely affected by either monetary grants or by religious beliefs pertaining to halal or kosher slaughter of animals. There are several studies on this issue, among them the study by Rhyne, et al. (1995) Dimensions of suicide: perceptions of lethality, time, and agony. In this study, a group of pathologists was asked to rate the time to death (in minutes) and the agony of dying. The agony of dying was rated by using scale that ranged from 0 (painless) to 100 (excruciating). Results of this study are listed in the table below.
The agony of death by cutting the throat was rated by medical experts only second to that by burning. In secular slaughterhouses the animals are rendered unconscious by firing a bolt into the animal’s head, corresponding to the ‘gunshot to head’ method in the Table 1. The duration of dying (Figure 1, in minutes) and the agony of dying (Figure 2, on a 0-100 scale) 3
We are aware that the table and study in the quote relate to humans however if you re read the quote immediately above this one by The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) the likelihood of extreme pain with a cut throat seems highly likely and correlates with this separate study.
Claim: The ritual slaughter technique involves an efficient ‘ one stroke’ knife throat cut
from the Viva Going for the Kill’ .Viva! Report on Religious Slaughter.by Juliet Gellatley BSc Zoology. PART TWO – The Reality of Religious Slaughter –
“Viva! has interviewed experienced slaughtermen to discover whether the stated procedures above are adhered to and to find out the reality of religious slaughter. These men have many decades of experience in killing animals and observing different methods of slaughter. We have also referred to the eminent Farm Animal Welfare Council’s (government advisory body) report on religious slaughter (11); to published scientific studies and to video evidence.
“I have been working for well over forty years and that’s a lot of killing. I have seen Kosher and Halal carried out in many different places and I’ve assisted. It disgusts me… Jewish Shechita slaughter is just a sick joke. They claim they kill with one cut but with the bigger animals it never is. The Shochet slices backwards and forwards and it can take as many as 20 cuts and the animal obviously feels real pain. It can take minutes to lose consciousness.”
…Viva! Video of Jewish Slaughter
Viva! has obtained video evidence, filmed officially, of two bullocks being killed by the Jewish slaughter method. Viva! has been told on several occasions that cattle are killed by one stroke across the neck and that the animal collapses almost immediately, however this is not the case.
The bullock’s neck is extended and the head lifted upwards by a chin lift in an upright pen. The animal’s nostrils are flaring, eyes staring and he is salivating. The slaughterer cuts the bullock’s throat by slicing across it, backwards and forwards 13 times. The bullock jerks away from the knife as far as he can and his facial reaction shows pain and great aversion. The bullock does not collapse immediately (the filming ends before he does).
Again, the bullock’s neck is extended and the head lifted upwards by a chin lift in an upright pen. After three strokes the blood pours out; the chin lift which supports the head is removed, but the animal does not collapse. He is clearly conscious as the blood gushes from his gaping wound. His eyes are seeing, his ears moving and he holds his head upright. The captive bolt is used on him after 30 seconds, but he still does not collapse. He is still managing to hold his head up without any support after 50 seconds when the filming is stopped.
Did the video footage show legal slaughtering methods?
The slaughter shown in Case 1 formed part of Viva!’s Sentenced to Death video, which exposed cruelty in both mainstream and religious slaughter. Viva! submitted this footage to the Meat Hygiene Service in August 2000.
MHS Chief Executive Chris Lawson responded, “With regard to the video footage of a bovine being slaughtered using Shechita methods, we can confirm that the slaughter of this bovine was in compliance with the relevant legislation applicable to slaughter by a religious method. Such methods do not always render animals immediately unconscious. However, they do have to be carried out by licensed slaughterers.” (53)
This confirms that the extreme suffering we have on film is legal and strengthens our case for a ban on Shechita slaughter methods.
Chris Day MRCVS viewed our video footage of Shechita slaughter and comments:
“The religious slaughter appears clearly to show an animal standing and fully conscious, pouring blood from the carotid artery area, having had its throat cut. This method of killing will inevitably cause pain and distress. I join Viva! in calling for stunning, prior to such procedures, to be made compulsory.” 4 [emphasis added]
further opposing evidence here
D.K. Blackmore (22) of the Dept. of Veterinary Pathology and Public Health, Massey University, New Zealand who has published many papers on slaughter states:
“A BASIC requirement for humane slaughter is that an animal should be rendered insensible before exsanguination (bleeding) is initiated and this should last until the animal becomes permanently insensible from cerebral anoxia.”
Blackmore studied the behaviour of sheep and cattle after being cut; he found that sheep lose consciousness more quickly than cattle. Lambs collapsed after an average of 2.6 seconds and stopped attempting to stand after 10 seconds (not being able to stand does not mean inability to feel); in contrast calves were standing up to 135 seconds after their throat was cut and were attempting to stand up to 385 seconds after that. Even though the calves had both carotid arteries and jugular veins severed three out of four were breathing up to 11.6 minutes later and so were shot. Lambs were gasping for up to 3.8 minutes after carotid arteries and jugular veins were cut. A bull was killed by the Jewish method and was still gasping sporadically for seven minutes after his carotid arteries, jugular veins, oesophagus and trachea were cut. 5 [emphasis added]
further opposing evidence here
Thornton’s Textbook of Meat Inspection says:
“A factor of considerable importance, and to which not sufficient attention has been paid in considering the problem of Jewish slaughter, is that after the carotid arteries of cattle are severed transversely, they tend, by virtue of their elasticity, to retract rapidly within their own external connective tissue coat, and as a result the sealing of the cut ends of the vessels may occur.As the blood pressure…is then maintained by the heart, the blood pressure in the vertebral arteries may likewise be maintained at a substantial level and unconsciousness therefore delayed”.
This explains why “some cattle have regained their feet and walked a considerable distance before they succumbed some minutes later.”
>The Textbook of Meat Inspection continues: “these occurrences have been attributed to the fact that all the neck vessels may not have been severed completely, but observations lead one to the conclusion that the cut is invariably made dextrously… There is therefore considerable doubt as to whether unconsciousness always follows rapidly in cattle after the severance of the neck vessels, for by the very nature of the neck cut made in Jewish slaughter it is impossible to ensure that self-sealing of the cut ends of the carotid arteries will not occur.”4 [emphasis added]
Combine, one, potentially long times to unconsciousness as quoted above (therefore the prolonged period in which pain is felt) with two, a ‘quickly rush every task’ production line mentality that we can reasonably assume occurs at any commercial abattoir and you have fertile conditions for this shocking further excerpt from the Going for the Kill – Viva.org.uk article
“In Jewish slaughter the Shochet examines the thoracic cavity of cattle and sheep for signs of abnormalities. The FAWC found that this examination can take place too quickly – the hand being plunged into the body while the animal was alive.. 8
Alle Processing in New York one of the largest U.S. kosher-meat suppliers owned or was owned by Mottel Bergman and imports a large proportion of its meat from South America, notorious for using the shackle and hoist method. PETA activists after initially exposing the practice at one plant in 07/08 shot another video in 2010 illustrating the same horrific practice STILL being carried out at the slaughterhouse known as Frigorifico Las Piedras outside Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo.
Israel is also another large importer from South American slaughter houses and despite some noise being made seemingly tokenly from Israel and the Orthodox Union in the US on stopping certification of animals killed via shackle and hoist nothing concrete has ensured as the PETA videos shot over several years indicate.
Inverted Pens and Rotating Cages
In this section we discuss what became a supposed more human alternative from the shackle and hoist method. Shockingly this method still relies on having the cow upside down prior to the live throat cut.
The animal is lead into a cage which then rotates upside down all whilst still alive ensuring the animal ends up in effectively the same situation as the shackle and hoist just by different means.
Some have commented that stress levels for inverted slaughter with devices known as the Weinberg pen (which are less stressful than shackling and hoisting) have yielded the highest average stress ratings ever published (almost 300% higher than cattle killed in upright pens).
The above photos are snapshots from a video on Agriproccessors, a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa that was owned by Aaron Rubashkin and managed by two of his sons, Sholom Rubashkin and Heshy Rubashkin. Eventually it became the largest kosher meat-packing plant in the United States.
As described above (and shown as untrue) supposedly in kosher slaughter the animal is killed with a quick, deep stroke across the throat with a sharp knife. A PETA undercover investigation over several years from 2004 – 2008 revealed many disturbing practices, below a just a few including an observation about the inverted rotating cage above.
PETA’s first investigation at Agriprocessors in 2004 revealed almost 300 instances of inhumane slaughter, in which cows’ sensitive faces were shocked with electric prods, fully conscious cattle had their tracheas and esophagi ripped from their throats with meat hooks or knives, and they writhed in pools of their own blood, trying desperately to stand up for up to three minutes as blood poured from their throats.
The following are excerpts from the investigator’s notes:
The cow was loaded into a machine that resembles a large metal tube. His head stuck out of the front, then a metal bar clamped under his neck and forced his head upwards and back, cocked in an awkward and painful-looking position. The entire machine rotated, turning the cow upside-down. This process seemed to terrify him—his eyes were wide with fright—I imagine because he had never been in such a helpless position. The cow’s exposed neck was scrubbed with a hose and brush, then a rabbi came out of a small room and slit the cow’s throat. Another worker followed the rabbi and gouged a chunk of flesh out of the cow’s neck and then pulled his trachea or esophagus (I’m not sure which one) outside of his throat so that it hung down. Then the machine reverted the cow into an upright position. The trap door on the side opened up, and the cow was dumped onto the floor, where another worker attached a chain to the animal’s ankle so that he could be hoisted into the air and sent down the line.
Many cows were still alive and conscious when they came out of the tube and were slammed onto the floor. Their heads often hit the concrete with a sickening crack. I watched as one cow landed on his feet and started scrambling around with a shocked look on his face. The workers simply jumped behind their barricade and waited for him to collapse. 9 [emphasis added]
Please visit the article ‘PETA Reveals Extreme Cruelty at Kosher Slaughterhouses’ for the full story including 3 separate graphic videos shot on each undercover operation there.
- Mutilations at Agriprocessors Slaughterhours
- Second investigation still reveals cruelty at Agriprocessors
- Undercover at Rubashkins Again!
Incredulously we found an article titled ‘Rubashkin: It’s all a lie’ dated June 3 2008 by Ben Harris on the website jewishjournal.com which quotes Rubashkin
““We got 21 or 23 inspectors,” Rubashkin said in a thick Yiddish accent. “Every minute the plant is open, there is USDA inspector. We got maybe 30 rabbis. How can we do something which is wrong? If I want to, God forbid! We are ethical people. We don’t do no injustice to nobody, not to a cat.” 10
We further note this excerpt from the PETA article linked above
‘ After a May 2008 federal raid of the plant over immigration violations, 76 percent of the 968 Agriprocessors employees were found to be using false or fraudulent Social Security numbers that were allegedly supplied by plant management’ 9
Inverted slaughter methods such as the pens above have been banned in England and some countries in Europe however allegedly the Israeli Chief Rabbinate requires that the animals be inverted in order for the cut to be in a downward motion in line with Jewish law.
These pens followed a path from opposition to shackle and hoist, which then lead to the inverted pens and now in some places the upright pens are used.
From the viva.org.uk, Part Two, The Reality of Religious Slaughter under the section titled ‘ ‘ Examples of Witness Statements obtained by Viva! from Slaughtermen in the UK regarding Jewish and Muslim Slaughter ‘ we quote Mike who says
“Now they say there’s nothing wrong with the upright crushes but there is. In fact the Shochet is cutting upwards, working against gravity and with a weaker set of arm muscles. It therefore makes the cut much weaker and often means more of them. 4″
The above must be read in conjunction with the claim that Kosher slaughter involves a clean single cut of the neck as a big part of how its supposedly ‘ humane ‘. See earlier quotes at the start of the article.
In our opinion the ‘ evolution ‘ of handling methods, whilst noted as a separate component of suffering mainly represent attempts to present the whole killing process as humane and the industry as being concerned and seeking improvements. Clearly slaughter itself without mandatory pre stunning is cruel and not in line with Western morals.
Any improvements/prospects on reducing or eliminating religious slaughter
New Zealand appears to have made some headway with Halal meat (but not Kosher) being already pre stunned according to the article titled ‘ Humane Slaughter? killing animals fully conscious ‘ 11 on the website www.safe.org.nz.
However this ‘pre stunning’ is only via electrical stunning and is sometimes known as ‘ reversible stunning’ where the animal can regain consciousness prior to the throat cut. This is to be compared to irreversible captive bolt pre stunning required by all other non halal non kosher slaughter. It is obviously a concession to religious interests with the loss being to the animal.
The 2008 Adams/Sheridan report on animal welfare prepared by the Animal Welfare Branch of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, states
‘reversible stunning is not in itself sufficient to lead to death of the animal. All stunning must be inextricably linked to the performance of slaughter using a reliable and fast means of exsanguination.’ 12( p XIV)
Lets speak directly to the plain truth here, unless the animal has been properly bled in the small time before the stunning wears off, it wakes up into the middle of its own murder with its throat cut and a crescendo of pain. In a commercial environment of animal after animal, with staff that get tired, bored, distracted over a long day it is reasonable to assume that mistakes and incompetency can and does happen.
Now finding direct data from the abattoirs is difficult only due to the obvious self interest religious slaughter houses have in keeping such statistics hidden, denied, covered up or not recorded at all. It is in such an environment that we applaud undercover investigations such as PETA or the frank if anonymous reports current and ex slaughtermen provide such as can be found quoted here from the viva.org.uk articles.
One other such place to search is of course the internet and below we quote a revealing discussion from the Muslim internet chartroom which we have saved even if they tactically delete it
‘sunniforum.com – a resource for the propagation of authentic Islamic teachings’ . Here – ‘Abdullahnana’(15/2/2010) -we read in the report by the Muslim scholars who toured Australian slaughter houses at the end of 2009 that –
‘Slaughterers are authorized to remove animals from the line which did not bleed properly, were not stunned properly, or were not cut properly. They will mark them with a special tag and inform the plant manager to process the animal separately. There are strict measures in place to keep these animals completely separate from the regular halal animals. These carcasses are not labeled as halal and not exported to halal markets
The main concern is whether the animal remains alive after this method of stunning.The two scholars have conducted research on electric stunning for sheep……. They even requested that a sheep be stunned with the electric stunner and removed from the line in order to give it time to regain consciousness. The animal DID regain consciousness within a few seconds.
A pneumatic stunner or mushroom stunner is used for beef. This is also a non-lethal type of stunning in which the device does not penetrate the brain of the animal. The beef plants have measures in place to reject those animals whose skulls are damaged or cracked from the stunner. This type of stunning also will not cause the death of the animal and will not affect the halal status of the meat. 13 [emphasis added]
Snippets of conversation like this by two Muslims interested in whether the killing process in Australia meets Halal requirements (NOT animal welfare) in this authors opinion contribute to a far more revealing insight into what goes on then any whitewashed official news release by a Halal slaughterhouse or spokesperson. For instance the statement about the ‘main concern is whether the animal remains alive after this method of stunning’ is diametrically opposed to our aims.
The move to pre stunning appears even less prevalent in the Kosher world of animal slaughter with staunch opposition argued by some theologically to the more humane mandatory pre stun technique as illustrated in the quote below
‘Jewish law requires that all animals for slaughter must be healthy and without injury prior to slaughter, otherwise the meat is trefar, unfit for human consumption. Levinger states that Jews cannot accept stunning because the definition of healthy is that the animal moves. If the animal is stunned it may not move.Secondly, there should not be any pathological-anatomical changes. The bolt causes brain damage; electric shock causes damage… 14 [emphasis added]
The Viva article that provided the above quote also contains the following
‘National Council of Shechita Boards makes the following astonishing justification of religious slaughter in a letter to Viva!:
In reference to cows being killed “the animal, being an herbivore, does not react to blood and remains oblivious throughout to what is happening around it and to it, both prior to and during Shechita.” (14) They are suggesting that because an animal does not eat meat, it is not familiar with blood and so doesn’t react when its throat is sliced open; or presumably when it is cut elsewhere. ‘14
Another non Viva UK source further confirming the above is found in the small piece titled ‘ What’s wrong with stunning? ’ by Chabad.org states
“Stunning” refers to the methods of attempting to render an animal or bird unconscious prior to slaughter. The main methods used in the general slaughtering industry for cattle and sheep are:
• captive bolt gun: a steel bolt is shot into the skull at the front of the animal’s brain.
• electric shock: electrodes are clamped to the animal’s head/heart and the animal is electrocuted.
These methods are contrary to Jewish law, because an animal intended for food must be healthy and uninjured at the time of shechita. The above stunning methods injure the animal, making it treifa (non-kosher and thus prohibited). If the stunning kills the animal it makes it neveila (an animal which has not been shechted) and is forbidden as food for Jews.” 15
To conclude this section ‘ Any improvements/prospects on reducing or eliminating religious slaughter’ we have observed during our research for this article that
1: Jewish-Kosher slaughter seems to get an easier ride than Muslim-Halal slaughter in the press despite both involving horrific slaughter of live animals and in some reporting the Jewish-Kosher practice seems conveniently ignored whilst Halal is discussed.
2: Kosher slaughter looks to possess the least chances for improvement based on its very rigid and inflexible theological underpinnings.
To the second point we reference two pieces
Stunning Use under Halal, Kosher Practices Revealed
UK – No poultry are now slaughtered for halal production without stunning while no kosher poultry are stunned before killing, according to a senior Defra official. However, the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) says all poultry at its certified plants are killed without prior stunning.
The Muslim News of the UK reports that Lord Moonie asked the Government “What estimate they have made of the number of domesticated animals and birds slaughtered in 2010 without being stunned first.”
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Lord Henley, responded that the most recent data on the slaughter of animals without prior stunning was published in March 2004 by the Meat Hygiene Service in its Animal Welfare Review. The data was collected through a survey of meat plants between 1 and 7 September 2003.
The number of animals killed over that period without prior stunning for the production of Kosher and Halal meat: cattle, 365; calves 8; young lambs, 6,845; other sheep, 11,454; goats, 62; broilers, 167,745; hens, 15,900; turkeys, 749 and ducks, 610.
More recent data collected by the EU Dialrel project shows that, of the UK abattoirs surveyed, 100 per cent of the animals and birds slaughtered for the production of Kosher meat were slaughtered without prior stunning. For Halal meat, 25 per cent of cattle and seven per cent of sheep were slaughtered without prior stunning. The Dialrel data also indicates that no poultry were slaughtered for Halal production without stunning. (Source: Hansard, House of Lords, Written Answers, January 18)
However, one of the many organisations which certify halal meat products, the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC), told The Muslim News that “Poultry certified by HMC is done without stunning. HMC does not actually certify any abattoir as such, HMC certifies the poultry product that has been witnessed and labelled by the HMC inspectors on site at the time of slaughter.” 16
This article illustrates that despite conflicting data regarding Halal slaughter there is at least more evidence of pre-stunning (even if only the non permanent and still unacceptable pre-stun..) being attempted whilst on the Kosher count (in the UK) moves to pre stunning are rare to non existent instead ‘compromise’ has involved in some instances a ‘post stun’ after the live throat cut which is laughable.
The following quote proudly written by a Kosher slaughter supporter on the Israellycool blog is gold as far as evidence towards proving point 2 about re Kosher’s rigidity and therefore lack of will to compromise in achieving a humane end. Note text sections preceded by ‘Ed.’ have been added by us.
Over the coming months we will see attempts to ban halal slaughter in Europe. But they won’t be worded in such a way to target only halal, they’ll probably go after something nebulous like “ritual slaughter” or “religious slaughter without stunning”. If that happens (as is ongoing in New Zealand) it will more likely than not deprive European Jews of kosher meat and make very little difference to the lives of farm animals.
This essay will be general but will draw specific examples from the UK.
As much as Muslims like to talk about halal, it is not a religious requirement in the same way as kosher has been to Jews for thousands of years. There is conclusive historical and archeological evidence across Israel and anywhere else Jews lived, that the rules of “Shechita” have been followed in an unaltered form for millennia. The mere fact that kosher food is perfectly acceptable to Muslims while halal is not acceptable to Jews shows the Muslim requirement has a certain inherent flexibilityborn of political expediency. The Jewish laws do not yield for convenience or to achieve other goals. Halal has also been flexible enough to include “light stunning” which has been enough to sidestep a ban in New Zealand. A very large proportion of the lamb consumed in the middle east is actually New Zealand lamb and in the UK this halal lamb is nearly always sold unmarked in big supermarkets. 17 [emphasis added]
So the author is admitting he/she is not concerned about ‘nebulous’ things like animal rights which the generic title ‘ritual slaughter ‘ fairly covers instead it’s just about denying Muslims their practice whilst maintaining the Jewish one! Hypocrisy. The comment about ‘ little difference being made to the lives of farm animals’ flies in the face of evidence of extreme pain during live throatcutting.
The comment about ‘the rules of “Shechita” have been followed in unalterated form for millennia’ proves our point 2 on Koshers rigidity and least likelihood to change compared to Halal. The comment ‘shows the Muslim requirement has a certain inherent flexibility born of political expediency’ attacks the notion of being flexible on ritual slaughter and at the same time just proves again our point 2.
As for Halal being more flexible due to ‘political expediency’ , response one is that anything that results in less animal suffering is a win for the animals regardless. Response two, is that this could imply the Jewish side is for some reason less susceptible or more resistant (stubborn?) than Muslims to community pressure against ritual slaughter in Western countries. Indicating this group possesses more relative societal ‘ power ‘ to weather the storm of adverse public opinion and/or find ways to deflect or lessen any negativity. If this is the case then ritual slaughter opponents of all stripes should bear this in mind when attempting to reign in Kosher slaughter as part of a broad approach that seeks to stop ritual slaughter of ANY kind by ANYONE.
Finally the comment ‘The Jewish laws do not yield for convenience or to achieve other goals’just about sums up our argument then on point 2, at least in the case of this individual Kosher Jewish slaughter supporter.
It is shocking to think that there is no clear labeling system for ritually slaughtered meat in Australia and/or in many other Western nations.
An example of an appropriate clear and transparent label would be
“Animal subject to live slaughter in accordance with Kosher/ Halal religious requirements.”
Followed on a second line with the Kosher and Halal symbols.
We demand clear explicit labeling of religious slaughtered meat for 2 primary reasons
Kosher and Halal slaughter with its inhumane methods are not part of Australian culture or values or indeed Western culture and hence our people and children should not be forced to be eating meat with such origins. Current Australian slaughter guidelines reflect our values regarding pre stunning and we note it is mandatory across the land…other than the religious minority exceptions discussed here.
In our opinion massive amounts of stress hormones would be released in animals that are either not stunned at all or only stunned via the reversible method as they recover consciousness. Animals would begin releasing these stress hormones as they smell the blood, hear the cries of other animals and are forced into positions (think hoist shackle, inverted pens, upright pens with neck compresses) needed for slaughter men to cut the throat of a conscious animal!
Such stress hormones, released in large amounts under these circumstances would seep into the muscle (meat) as the animal slowly bleeds to death. We fail to see how such hormones would not be detrimental to human health.
Lack of Transparency:
Australians purchase meat believing it is pre stunned, we believe a clear majority would be shocked to learn that in fact Halal and Kosher meat finds its way into mainstream meat sales by stealth.
Consider the following quote
“British Veterinary Association : Our position is clear – all animals should be stunned before slaughter and if that’s not possible the meat should be labelled as not stunned…By ensuring that all meat from animals that are not stunned only enters the specific communities that it is targeted at, we can make a significant difference.” 2.1 million UK animals are killed annually using Shechita slaughter methods, of which none are pre-stunned, and an estimated 70% of those cattle slaughtered enter the non-Jewish market.… Last month, the EU Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee voted in favour of new labelling regulations requiring meat to be labelled as stunned or non-stunned. The new measures will be put forward for full approval by the parliament in July.”18 [emphasis added]
‘Another area of concern that has been raised with the RMAA and the Department of Agriculture is a whole animal is kosher slaughtered (no pre-stun) but as we know only the forequarters are used for Jewish consumption. Currently the kosher slaughtered hindquarters are processed for the everyday meat market, we believe that that meat should be marked kosher slaughtered. Consumers believe that all meat that they buy – other than kosher, – is in fact pre-stunned, the above proves that to be wrong – this is mislabelling of products and should be addressed, consumers should have the right to make informed decisions. 19 [emphasis added]
‘British public has no idea that they are eating halal meat, a senior member of the Church of England’s governing body said yesterday.
In comments likely to spark controversy, Alison Ruoff said, ‘this is just another back door way to the Islamification of our country.” [emphasis added]
Livestock destined for halal meat is dispatched in a process that involves the animal being prayed over by a Muslim butcher as its throat is cut. Some religious abattoirs do not stun the animal, as Sharia law stipulate that the animal must hear the prayer. It’s estimated that it can take around 30 seconds to die…
The interview on Premier Christian Radio’s Woman to Woman show yesterday tackled the issue of unlabelled halal meat being sold to unsuspecting customers in supermarkets; an issue that affect people of all faiths, and not just Christians. [emphasis added]
Ruoff revealed that most stores stock halal lamb only, with Morrisons being the only store to label their products.
She believes that most meat imported from New Zealand is halal, enabling them to sell on to Muslim markets. She alleged that economically it’s cheaper to butcher the animals in the same way, rather than halal and non-halal.
Joy Barrow, Interfaith Relations Officer said: ”No person should be made to eat halal meat. Clearly it’s an issue of labelling.” 20
Commerce over Culture: Values be damned
The underlined text in the previous quote raises another issue, namely big business, food production and the lack of concern large enterprises commonly have for the values, customs and culture of the host populations they rely on.
We would agree with the sentiment that vast modern slaughterhouses simply make the decision that it is cheaper and more efficient (lovely adjective to excuse anything) to setup one production line then multiple ones. As it is currently not illegal to palm off’ ‘killed alive’ slaughtered meat on non muslims and non jews their business decisions are currently not liable to prosecution.
In fact such practices clearly fit with our position that international capitalism operates in the world from an economic reductionist position. Namely that diversity and difference between cultures, religions, ethnicities et al merely get in the way of ‘efficiency’ and add production costs. Costs that would be removed if the world did away with our diversity and humanity become a once race, one culture, one religion atomized consumer with the only diversity being the choices in a catalogue or menu.
Another economic related excuse related to labeling comes from the below quote
What would strict labelling mean?
One of the ways that people are calling for some introduction of control on the spread of halal meat is by calling for strict labelling of meat that is not stunned before slaughter. There is a particular issue with halal today because there is a large amount of halal meat in the normal food chain that is not labeled as such. This is not such an issue with kosher meat except in one respect. Fully kosher meat is always much more expensive than non kosher and this reflects the small nature of its market and the care with which it has to be produced. Halal is generally cheaper than non halal. Some parts of kosher slaughtered animals do end up in the non-kosher meat supply, however, because this does help keep kosher meat affordable.
So strict labelling would be a problem for Jews if it meant that producers of meat pies and sausages were reluctant to accept some meat because it would force them to label their end product as containing some parts from non stunned animals. 21
Animal welfare and pre stunning is what is at issue here, economic arguments from proponents whether ‘ Halal is cheaper so why not change your mind” or ‘ Strict labels will cause Kosher meat to be more expensive ’ bear no weight. In fact both are insults. The former implies we are happy to trade off our values and morals based on money and the second that we should trade off BOTH values and money for a minority to be satisfied against the wishes of the host population amongst whom they have been allowed to settle.
Prior to a complete ban being achieved transparency through labeling will provide Australians with the ability to take a ‘conscious vote’ as to the kill method employed when they choose their meat from the supermarket shelve.
Nationalist Alternative advocates on grounds of compassion and in line with Australian values the total ban on any form of inverted killing methods whether shackles, pens or otherwise for all slaughter in Australia. We also reject the token reversible pre stunning method.
We call to STOP ALL SLAUGHTER of ANIMALS that are NOT FULLY, PERMANENTLY STUNNED and UNCONSCIOUS PRIOR to throat slitting.
There is no use being tricked into the often decades long slow reform path of ‘ compromise ‘ with the supporters of religious slaughter.
Politically correct politicians need to gain some backbone and ensure there are no exemptions for anyone and simply weather the minority lobby groups attempts to cry foul inevitability with the old chestnuts of ‘anti semitism or islamaphobia’ and ‘ how can we possibly live without these exemptions’ et al. In 2012 general citizens are slowly waking up to the fact that these labels are merely attempts to shut down discussion and close down opponents without debating them.
We would invite those proponents of such slaughter to emigrate to lands where these methods and values hold sway.
http://www.fawc.org.uk/reports.htm and then select the report titled’ Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing – Part 1: Red Meat Animals – 2003′
this articles quotes the study: Rhyne, et al. (1995) Dimensions of suicide: perceptions of lethality, time, and agony. Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior, 25(3), 373-380
or pdf here
http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/ritual_slaughter/goingforthekill3.htm under the section titled
Going for the Kill.Viva! Report on Religious Slaughter. by Juliet Gellatley BSc (Zoology),
Director of Viva!
under the section titled ‘ Trefar ‘
also referenced in the Viva article at point 14: Letter from Michael Kester, Executive Director, National Council of Shechita Boards, 8 May 1997
under the section titled ‘ FAWC observations of Religious Slaughter’
also referenced in the article by – 37. Ghulam Mustafa Khan, 1982. Al-Dhabh; Slaying Animals for Food the Islamic Way. Islamic Medical Association.
Also see the pdf copy at http://www.iccservices.org.uk/pdf/Al-%20Dhabh%20M%20Khan.pdf
Widely condemned cattle-killing method is used by kosher meat firm’s supplier‘ by Nathaniel Popper in the Los Angeles Times, April 15 2010.
PETA Reveals Extreme Cruelty at Kosher Slaughterhouses
June 3, 2008. ‘ Rubashkin: It’s all a lie’ –By Ben Harris
‘ Humane Slaughter? killing animals fully conscious ‘ under the subsection ‘Religious slaughter in New Zealand’
‘Specifying the Risks to Animal Welfare Associated with Livestock Slaughter without Induced Insensibility’ by David B Adams and Allan D Sheridan. Prepared by the Animal Welfare Branch of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 28th Nov 2008. – page xiv.
www.sunniforum.com – a resource for the propagation of authentic Islamic teachings> General Forums > Health and Well-Being > Halal Meat Criteria in Australia?
Post by ‘ abdullahnana ‘ on 15-02-2010,6.26AM
Under the section Trefar.
http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/ritual_slaughter/goingforthekill01.htm – under the section ‘ Trefar’
What’s Wrong with Stunning?
‘ Stunning Use under Halal, Kosher Practices Revealed ‘, Feb 24 2011, www.themeatsite.com
‘ Halal: It’s Just Not Kosher, May 06, 2011
‘BVA calls for total pre-stunned slaughter’ Gemma Mackenzie, Tuesday 17 May 2011.
‘ Many faces of slaughter ‘ 07/06/2010. National Council of SPCAs promoting the Welfare of All Animals
‘Halal meat: are you eating it without choosing it?’ Courtesy by: Inspire Magazine. Posted by Halal Research Council on Jan 19 2011
‘ Halal: It’s Just Not Kosher, May 06, 2011