Recently there has been significant controversy surrounding the welfare of animals which are subject to religious slaughter. Particularly to Islamic religious slaughter, the ‘halal’ method, and the jewish method ‘Shechita’.
While both these religions promote kindness to animals, their methods of slaughter have been accused of inflicting undue cruelty. Both require that animals be killed by throat cutting, allowing blood to flow from the animal as it dies, the consumption of which is prohibited. However it is custom, or even law in most Western countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Britain and most European countries that before an animals throat is cut, it be stunned to induce unconsciousness and reduce pain and distress while dying.
However Jewish and Islamic faiths are opposed to stunning on the grounds of their religious beliefs. A central principal of Jewish religious slaughter is that an animal slaughtered for food must not be injured, a law which derives in part from hygiene requirements in earlier societies, because eating an injured animal could lead to food poisioning. Therefore Judaism is opposed to stunning on the grounds that it injures animals prior to slaughter and therefore meat is not kosher and may not be consumed. While arguments presented against this are that stunning does not actually injure animals as stunned animals have been shown to completely recover and therefore are not truly injured and that stunning should be viewed as a part of the slaughter process as it is carried out seconds before the throat of an animal is cut.
Muslims are also opposed to eating injured animals and require the halal method to be the sole cause of death, or meat is considered carrion and not fit for consumption. Some muslims are also opposed to stunning on the grounds that it reduces the volume of blood which drains from the body as a result of throat cutting, making it unhygienic for the consumer. However the CIW