Slaughtering animals without prior stunning should be curbed, if not banned

May 05, 2012

The slaughter of animals for commercial meat supply without stunning them first should at the very least be curbed, if not banned, concludes a former president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) in an opinion piece in this week's Veterinary Record.

There has been a steady rise in the number of animals killed in this way over the past decade, the available data suggest.

UK and EU legislation allow for the slitting of animals' throats without prior stunning to enable Muslims and Jews to meet the dietary requirements of their faiths, but with the caveat that it must not cause "unnecessary suffering."

But it does, says Professor Bill Reilly, pointing to the findings of both the former Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) and the EU funded Dialrel Project, which encouraged dialogue among 11 countries on issues of religious slaughter.

FAWC concluded that: "such a massive injury would result in very significant pain and distress" before an animal lost consciousness, and said the practice was "unacceptable."

The Dialrel Project report drew similar conclusions, based on the fact that the throat is rich in .

These findings can be easily verified in films posted on YouTube, which "clearly demonstrate the pain and distress of obviously still sentient animals after non-stun slaughter," adds Professor Reilly.

An estimated 2 million animals, mostly poultry, are killed without stunning for the orthodox Jewish community (Schecita), while Halal meat now accounts for 25% of the entire UK meat market, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that almost half of lambs destined for slaughter are killed without prior stunning.

As these figures far exceed the proportions of religious communities with these dietary requirements, commercial factors may have played their part in this rise, suggests Professor Reilly. Abattoirs without stunning facilities may be cheaper to run and enjoy a marketing advantage, he says.

It means that "much of the meat from non-stunned animals ends up on the secular market," but if they knew the source, "most consumers would choose not to eat such meat," he believes.

"In my view, the current situation is not acceptable and, if we cannot eliminate non-stunning, we need to keep it to the minimum," he contends.

"This means restricting the use of Halal and Kosher meat to those communities that require it for their religious beliefs, and where possible, convincing them of the acceptability of the stunned alternatives," he writes.

The principles applied to the use of animals in medical research - replace, reduce, and refine - could be similarly applied to slaughter without prior stunning, he ventures.

A tolerant society must respect the religious beliefs of different faiths, he emphasises. The challenge is to reconcile that with , and ongoing dialogue is key, he says. This has been successfully achieved in New Zealand, which has a large Halal export market that requires all its animals to be stunned first, he says.

"I do not believe that there is any scientifically robust evidence to support the contention that non-stun slaughter has the welfare of the animal at its core," he maintains. And in light of the forthcoming EU directive on the protection of animals at the time of killing, now is the time for UK vets to take a stand on the issue, he concludes.

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User comments : 41

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verkle
1.2 / 5 (17) May 05, 2012
Not sure if this kind of article is fit for a science new site. Do we look to Youtube to verify information?

Do we take something that someone "believes" at face value? Why quote such comments? Where is the data to back up such claims?

Such a biased article.

Sinister1811
2.8 / 5 (18) May 05, 2012
Reminds me of those sick bastards at the Indonesian abbatoirs who believe in torturing the cattle by beating them and breaking their legs before slaughtering them slowly and painfully. For a while, this put a halt on live exports from Australia to Indonesia. But after an outcry over cash loss, they decided to resume the exports.

I don't believe any animal should have to go through unnecessary suffering (especially having its legs broken) before its death. After all, imagine if you were that animal.
Anorion
3.2 / 5 (14) May 05, 2012
Not sure if this kind of article is fit for a science new site. Do we look to Youtube to verify information?

Do we take something that someone "believes" at face value? Why quote such comments? Where is the data to back up such claims?

Such a biased article.


lets slither your throat , and before you die, tell / or write us fast if it hurts or cause suffering, so we will be fixed and will know for sure without any bias.
ShotmanMaslo
3 / 5 (20) May 05, 2012
Animal welfare should of course be above any religious rites. I believe there needs to be mandatory stunning before slaughter.
Duude
1.3 / 5 (14) May 05, 2012
I guess we should toss all drug testing on rats too. Who is to say what horrible death these rats may be experiencing.
Moebius
2.3 / 5 (15) May 05, 2012
...legislation allow for the slitting of animals' throats without prior stunning to enable Muslims and Jews to meet the dietary requirements of their faiths, but with the caveat that it must not cause "unnecessary suffering".


The hypocrisy we turn a blind eye to for religion. Cows routinely have their throats slit under the supervision of rabbi's and we tell ourselves they don't feel it. At least be honest. Must be 'necessary suffering'.
Argiod
1.3 / 5 (12) May 05, 2012
I think a study needs to be done to determine if this method of slaughter (non stunning prior to slitting the throat) releases fear hormones into the meat. There seems to be a relationship between this method of ritual slaughter and the level of aggressiveness of the people who practice it. Look at the Jewish and Muslim populations: they have been in a state of nearly perpetual war with their neighbors since the beginning of recorded history.
ugosugo
5 / 5 (1) May 05, 2012
Here is a funny story. According to wikipedia definition of kosher, slaughtering is the most humane way to kill an animal!!
Terriva
1.4 / 5 (9) May 05, 2012
The kosher or Halal meat doesn't imply, the animal must be killed without stunning - it just requires the draining of blood from meat, before the animal dies. Such exsanguination can be made with stunned animals without problem. Instead of it, the lactic acid, hormones and enzymes released into blood during stress are doing the meat of tortured animals untasty and less durable. The experienced slaughterers know, they should avoid the pain of animals and their stress just for the sake of the quality of meat.
MandoZink
3.8 / 5 (10) May 05, 2012
I really think that part of our human evolution should involve learning to become a more compassionate species. I cannot help but think it would benefit us all. Notions, be they religious or not, that animals are there for us to do as we wish is a poor reason to ignore suffering.

I am NOT a vegetarian, but that does not me I can't hope we can improve how we treat other living beings. I see compassion as major inheritance of my atheist awakening.

Feel free to cast my statements aside as heathen bullcrap. It is fully expected.
djxatlanta
3.7 / 5 (3) May 05, 2012
Not sure if this kind of article is fit for a science new site. Such a biased article.


It's not an article -- it's an opinion piece, as it clearly states in the abstract. Readers are more than welcome to agree or disagree with editorials and opinion pieces -- just don't refer it to something it's not. ;-)
MandoZink
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2012
I'm sorry about my poor spell-checking a couple comments ago. It should have read:

"I am NOT a vegetarian, but that does not MEAN I can't hope we can improve how we treat other living beings."

I am in Louisville and was in a hurry to watch the Kentucky Derby. Probably and odd thing to do, considering my comment, but they really do pamper the horses here.
Shootist
1.7 / 5 (17) May 05, 2012
Not sure if this kind of article is fit for a science new site. Do we look to Youtube to verify information?

Do we take something that someone "believes" at face value? Why quote such comments? Where is the data to back up such claims?

Such a biased article.


lets slither your throat , and before you die, tell / or write us fast if it hurts or cause suffering, so we will be fixed and will know for sure without any bias.


Animals are not people. Stop ranting.
MandoZink
2.7 / 5 (10) May 05, 2012
Animals are not people. Stop ranting.

Right. Some people are worse. Some people are just plain uncaring and malicious. Animals aren't.
Burnerjack
3.7 / 5 (6) May 05, 2012
Causing an animal to suffer is immoral, indecent and inhumane. We as the supposed "higher beings" are obligated to act accordingly. Without exception. When I read about halal slaughter, it's hard not to go vegetarian like the Hindu. I just can't imagine much greater hypocrisy than declaring practices like that as being "closer to God". Surely, we are becoming more civilized soon, I hope.
kaasinees
1.3 / 5 (17) May 05, 2012
Being pescetarian is healthier than vegatarian, and your not killing any mammals.
Eating mammals brings disseases, a lot of people dont realise this... namely prions dissease.
It also more economically and ecologically viable to be pescetarian.
Eric_B
2.1 / 5 (11) May 06, 2012
i ave to disagree with the anti-religious bigots raving on here.

yes, you read that correctly.

i will assert my right to kill and eat what i want how i want it and i don't have to apologize for it.

don't like it? stop wearing leather!

as far as kosher slaughter being cruel... i don't know if the worst videos that the "sane" people from PETA have shown us depict kosher slaughter being done correctly or not.

however, i can't imaging that if blood flow to the brain is completely severed, that there is going to be a inordinate amount of suffering before expiration.

one cut across the neck is not like being disembowel alive by a lion or hyena. kosher rules prohibit eating limbs torn from an animal while it is still alive.

in some chinese restaurant they serve a fish alive on a platter and the diners tear it apart right there.

that seems pretty gnarly to me.

should a law be passed requiring them to have a club present to club it before they cut it up?
axemaster
2.5 / 5 (10) May 06, 2012
I find it amusing that some people seem to have gotten the impression that the mass slaughtering of animals is ever performed in a "humane" manner. The animals are literally dragged screaming to their deaths in many cases. You can find innumerable videos from inside slaughterhouses - if you're prepared to lose your lunch.

People just don't understand the level of horror their eating habits inflict. And I'm still not a vegetarian. Sick huh?

EDIT: It's also very interesting how people try to rationalize it. It's about "freedom", it's less painful than being eaten alive, we have no other choices etc. etc... I imagine you could get very similar responses about a whole lot of bad things - torture, inequality, slavery (back in the day)... Ultimately it's all about avoidance of responsibility, nothing more.
mosahlah
1.9 / 5 (18) May 06, 2012
I've never seen a subject on Physorg as emotionally loaded and logically devoid as this one. This is a good example of the usual state of liberally minded people struggling to rationalize their emotionally based decision making. People eat animals. The strong survive and the weak get eaten. There's nothing nice about it, but it's worked for billions of years. Yes, we are at the top of the food chain and that gives us considerable lee way choosing our own demise, but virtually every other animal is prey to some predator. Predatory animals do not concern themselves with the suffering, one way or the other, of their prey, so why should we? What difference does it make, other than the emotional comfort of some human laying on their pillowtop mattress.
axemaster
3.9 / 5 (11) May 06, 2012
I love how your basically making the argument that "Because we're humans, we're better than the animals. Therefore, we should behave on the same savage level as them." Without seeing any irony at all...

Especially since you'd surely be crying about how unfair it would be if aliens showed up and started eating us. As I said before, your argument is one of convenience and laziness. A hundred years from now, we'll doubtless look as barbaric and unfeeling as our own ancestors, and for good reason.
deisik
4 / 5 (8) May 06, 2012
i will assert my right to kill and eat what i want how i want it and i don't have to apologize for it


No, you will either conform to the accepted rules or become an outlaw otherwise

however, i can't imaging that if blood flow to the brain is completely severed, that there is going to be a inordinate amount of suffering before expiration


There two smaller arteries in the spine, so you will not get off with just "one cut across the neck"

one cut across the neck is not like being disembowel alive by a lion or hyena. kosher rules prohibit eating limbs torn from an animal while it is still alive


You just don't know what you are talking about. Lions (and other cats for this matter) kill their prey by grabbing it by the throat and suffocating it, sometimes clamping their jaws around the prey's mouth and nose instead of the throat. They never kill by slashing open their prey's bowels

And hyenas are scavengers
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (4) May 06, 2012
Funny story: A group on a project I was in were investigating biomechanical properties of the brain (for predicting brainshift between pre-op images and intra-op). They used 1x1x1cm cubes of cow-brains from slaughterhouses in a testing rig.

After doing almost a years worth of work on this they found out that the animals were stunned before slaughter by a blow to the head. This invalidated all their findings.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (2) May 06, 2012
I'd rather be killed in my sleep .
Irukanji
1 / 5 (6) May 06, 2012
Look at how other animals kill animals. Do you seriously think the animal cares when it sinks its teeth and claws into its dinners neck, to make it slowly bleed out? Or when a crocodile grabs the unfortunate lamb and drags it to its death on the bottom of the river? I think not.

Humans are animals, and we are of course known to kill animals. How did we kill animals 2000 years ago? I bet we didn't have such a fuss about stunning them. 1st world problems. We think that meat is grown in foam trays and wrapped in plastic, and when people actually see how it is prepared they get shocked by it and demand action(from the comfort of their lounge room).

It happened in Australia, and a few thousand jobs were lost because a bunch of people want to force our morals onto the Indonesian's. The government tried to say the animals were ours, even though MONEY HAD CHANGED HANDS. They go to school to become lawyers, but don't understand the definition of trade.

Cut their throat, and they die. Simple.
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (11) May 06, 2012
What happened in Indonesia was different. There were actually VIDEOS (and proof) of shocking animal cruelty there. And those videos were actually shown on the news and uploaded to the web. And it was sickening what they were doing to those cattle. By the looks of things, those Indonesians had absolutely NO morals when it comes to the treatment of animals. I mean, beating and breaking the legs of cattle before killing it? I don't know about you, but I can understand the public outcry over that. And the difference between US and any predatory animal such as a Lion or a Crocodile, is that the predatory animal isn't intelligent enough to understand the pain it inflicts upon its prey. Predatory animals kill to eat, they don't torture their prey first, or slit its throat and watch it bleed to death before eating it. That's just sick and immoral (depending on whether or not you share common Human psychology).
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (9) May 06, 2012
Anyways, I was going to edit my comment and retract at least one of my statements (the last one I made), but now I can't. I suppose it depends entirely on your point of view and what you consider to be "moral" or "ethical".
kaasinees
1 / 5 (7) May 06, 2012
We need to advertise pescetarianism which is complimented by aquaponics.
That is the future only, we can cut agricultural resource usage by so much doing pescetarianism and aquaponics we just need to create the demand for it so a market for it can open.
We can reduce fresh water usage and greenhouse gasses by a lot of % AND it is much healthier, why are we not doing it ? gogo.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (8) May 06, 2012
Oh boy. Here we go.

Next they'll be wanting to make eating meat a crime.

Where was I warned about that?

Oh yeah...

1 Timothy 4

1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

4For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

5For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Beware, idjit liberals. They day they actually start banning the eating of meat, this prophecy will be fulfilled.

===

Hey, I love meat, and eat it all the time. I don't prefer to see the animal slaughtered, but different people exist for different roles in life. I was an insider, my brother was a hunter, etc.
Lurker2358
1.3 / 5 (12) May 06, 2012
I have killed 1 and a half deer (long story, we both shot simultaneously,). I have about a 220 to 250 lbs, 7 point buck mounted on my wall, and I helped dress him too, even though I'm squeamish at the sight of blood. Boy, he was some good eating too, thank God!

I doubt he suffered as much as the aborted babies you liberals are so proud of killing.

Does it make me happy to kill animals? No, and I actually want little part in the raising or the slaughtering of them, as I said, that's for somebody else who's better "called" to the task; but it sure does make me happy to eat a burger or a meat and squash casserole, or pasta with meat sauce, or fried fish. Mmmmm.

If you think cattle suffer when being slaughtered, you should see seafood.

They skin fish and gut them alive while they are still twitching and breathing.

Next time you eat tuna or take an omega 3 pill...

Crawfish and Crabs? those are boiled alive; you don't want them to be dead ahead of time for health and quality reasons.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (9) May 06, 2012
there's nothing wrong with that. It's what we are and always have been for as long as anyone remembers.

Genesis 9:2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

4But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

God doesn't have a problem with me eating animals, except rare or raw meat. In fact, he practically commanded it.
kaasinees
1.5 / 5 (15) May 06, 2012
Fish are usually beheaded completely before prepared.
Also crabs dont feel anything when they are boiled because they are boiled so slowly they become numb.(ew crabs, dont eat that shit :S)

Also taking knowledge from an ancient corrupted book... seriously?
Lurker2358
1.3 / 5 (12) May 06, 2012
Fish are usually beheaded completely before prepared.
Also crabs dont feel anything when they are boiled because they are boiled so slowly they become numb.(ew crabs, dont eat that shit :S)

Also taking knowledge from an ancient corrupted book... seriously?


Obviously you've never actually seen seafood or fish being prepared. I have, and grew up around people with commercial fishing licensing.

It's rich, you're going to tell a Louisianian how fish and seafood are commonly prepared.

When fish are "stunned' it is primarily done with a club, such as an axe handle or a baseball bat, to make them hold still.

We certainly didn't use sedatives or a stun gun when we used to do a whole boat load of catfish at a time, and neither does anyone in your local fresh seafood market or restaurant.

Nice try.

Like I said, nothing wrong with it. They are food given to us by God.

Everything in nature eats something else, and as was pointed out, many creatures don't wait for the prey to die.
kaasinees
1.3 / 5 (15) May 06, 2012
Well you probably just live in a savage place, your believe in a god proves it.
Lurker2358
1.4 / 5 (10) May 06, 2012
Well you probably just live in a savage place, your believe in a god proves it.


False Attribution fallacy, on both points.

Ad hominem.

Or just good old fashioned lies.

You ever watch Swamp People, or Deadliest Catch? Or any hunting or fishing program?

I guess not.

ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (7) May 06, 2012
I doubt he suffered as much as the aborted babies you liberals are so proud of killing.


Early foetuses are incapable of suffering.

Oh boy. Here we go.


This article is not about eating meat or killing animals. It is about "unnecessary suffering" of animals. Thats something we have a moral obligation to fight, it is not much different than animal abuse.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (8) May 06, 2012
WE don't care how you mortals eat your meat, or not; but WE command you to kill your meat in the prescribed manner. The animal's must be fully aware of its pain, feels its consciousness and life-force draining away. This is what WE need for OUR OWN sustenance.
Eric_B
1 / 5 (5) May 06, 2012
"or slit its throat and watch it bleed to death before eating it..."

with GLEE nonetheless...

no, the throat-cutting is supposed to get the windpipe -and- both major arteries.

yes, a sledgehammer on the head may be faster and more fun but bleeding out at the neck can't be the worst way to go.

nope, it's all anti-semitism to me... these arguments and those who want to tell me that i can't circumcise my infant son (e.g @ huffingtonpost.com)

first rule of a free society..you don't get to tell me or interfere with how i live my life under most circumstances.
kaasinees
1.8 / 5 (15) May 06, 2012
Circumcision is child abuse.
You should let your child decide for himself.

You jews are savages also.
alfie_null
not rated yet May 07, 2012
Being pescetarian is healthier than vegatarian

Higher in food chain = greater concentration of a variety of toxins, heavy metals, etc.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet May 07, 2012
Higher in food chain = greater concentration of a variety of toxins, heavy metals, etc.

Not necessarily. The pants we farm for food get doused in herbicides/insecticides as well. Animals also tend to concentrate poisons in certain bodily tissues. Mostly the liver (because it's the body's detox center) and the brain (because anything that passes the blood brain barrier has a hard time getting back out.)

... on the other hand: dragging out fish for suhsi that have swum past Fukushima isn't the greatest idea since sliced bread...
kaasinees
1 / 5 (7) May 08, 2012
That is why we need aquaponics.