Sacred animals and religious slaughter

Length: 3 Pages 677 Words

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 r Continue...


equirements 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. So conflict between religious freedom and animal welfare is often difficult to resolve. These are the results of a study by Gregory and Wotton (1984) showing the differences in time between throat cutting and loss of brain responsiveness in sheep. However the CIWF (compassion in world farming organization) disputes this claim, saying that as stunning only induces unconsciousness, bleeding still takes place before death and heart pumping is unaffected. While I have used the two examples of Islam and Judaism, these are not the only religions which have customs concerning animal slaughter. There are many others religions which ritually slaughter animals or have done so historically. 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. But on the other hand, we believe that everyone should have freedom of religion and the right to practice their own religious customs. Conclusion The issue of protecting the welfare of animals used for religious purposes is particularly difficult as we are all prejudiced by our own beliefs and may find it difficult to understand why certain religious practices are important to people with other beliefs. It shows that If both carotid arteries and jugular veins are severed it takes 14 second to induce loss of brain responsiveness, while if only one carotid artery and one jugular are severed it takes 5 times longer (70sec) and if only the jugular veins are severed it takes 5 minutes. 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. 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. Some of which sacrifice animals to mark significant events such as births , deaths, marriage etc, where animals may or may not be eaten afterwards.