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Halal or Kosher slaughter

RELIGIOUS ritual slaughter at federal and state abattoirs will immediately be reviewed, the Federal Government has announced.The review follows revelations in The Age that a Warrnambool abattoir was cutting the throats of sheep and allowing them to bleed to death while still conscious. The sheep are exported to the Middle East. The names of three Victorian domestic abattoirs conducting ritual slaughter without any form of electrical stunning were also revealed on Friday.Hardwick’s Meat Works of Kyneton and G. A. Gathercole of Carrum were given special approval from the state’s regulatory body, PrimeSafe, to kill sheep and cattle without any form of stunning. MC Herd at Geelong has approval to kill sheep without stunning.Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran said the review would include both federal and state-regulated abattoirs. “Until the review is completed, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service will not issue any new approvals for ritual slaughter without stunning,” he said.

(The Age)

Personally I would have thought that some form of stunning before such slaughter would have been a good way to fulfil the requirements of our laws against cruelty and to meet the requirements of both Halal and Kosher. So my question is simply, why is it not being done?
I’m very interested in finding the answer to this question.


  1. Mark L. says:

    Probably because it’s a religious requirement both in Islam and Judaism that livestock be slaughtered a certain way. You’re not the first person to feign indignation over this, Nazi propaganda used kosher slaughter to portray the Jews as callous and blood-thirsty.

    It seems you frequent McDonald’s, Iain, well I hope you don’t ever order their chicken products because their method of poultry slaughter is questionable to say the least.

  2. Iain says:

    Please explain where in my post there is any indignation, because I did not intend there to be any at all.
    As for the slaughter of poultry and McDonalds I fail to see why you would choose to single them out for your approbation because to my knowledge none of their chicken products are prepared with any method of slaughter that is different for any other user of chicken meat.

  3. Mark L. says:

    Because you have said you go there, of course!

  4. Iain says:

    I had breakfast there today. So what?
    What makes you think that chickens used in their product are killed in a cruel manner? Or are you a militant Vegan?

  5. E says:

    Iain: Labelling someone militant for questioning slaughter methods is a bit dodgy.

    Mark: McDonalds is looking into more humane methods because, as you point out, current methods leave much to be desired: http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/28736/story.htm

    We live in a world in which mistreatment of animals is common. Pigs have their teeth and tails cut and are penned in enclosures too small for them to get up should they fall; no one could seriously call battery farming of chickens a suitable environment; and the latest invention is the feedlot dairy, in which cows stand in one place to be fed and milked. I think that it is legitimate to question those practices.

  6. Mark L. says:

    Oh don’t get me wrong, E, I agree with that. I’m not a militant vegan, like most people I enjoy a good steak or a nice roast chicken, and if we are going to eat meat then things necessarily have to die. However that doesn’t mean they have to suffer.
    I do agree with Iain’s statement that stunning animals before slaughter is the most humane option. I just wonder why Iain’s radar never picks up these things until there’s some connection with Islam or the Middle East, there’s as many inhumane practices enacted on animals which aren’t destined for export.

  7. Iain says:

    I invite you to suggest any faith other than Islam or Judaism that require ritual slaughter of animals for meat.
    Your suggestion about my radar is entirely off the mark as I hold all animal cruelty in the name of religion to be contemptible.

  8. E says:

    A little side note: earlier this year, there was a string of entries at http://countingtheomer.blogspot.com/ (or another of that author’s sites) pondering whether there isn’t a good theological case in Judaism for vegetarianism. Within the logic of Jewish belief, he made some excellent points.


  9. Elijah says:

    Iain, this is a bit of a touchy issue. Halal and Kosher generally are very quick ways for the animal to die, because the amount of blood that is squirted out from the carotid in the first few seconds in quite copious and can lead to death in about 10 seconds or so. However, being that there is variation in animals just like humans.

    The entire point of kosher and halal slaughter is to get the blood out of the animal, as it is forbidden to eat it.

    Anyway, my view on the matter is they must use stunning. Proper stunning kills the conscious part of the brain but leaves the brain stem in operation. As well the heart has it’s own synaptic nodes which means it will beat without the assistance of the CNS. This ensures the removal of all blood in the meat.

    If they don’t like it, they can piss off. We don’t tolerate animal cruelty in this country.

  10. Anthony_ says:

    What Elijah says in regards to stunning sounds fair to me.

  11. Mark L. says:

    Your suggestion about my radar is entirely off the mark as I hold all animal cruelty in the name of religion to be contemptible.
    Why does it have to be committed in the name of religion to be “contemptible”? Like you I’m an atheist, however I consider all cruelty to animals to be abhorrent, whether it’s intentional, incidental or accidental. And as has been pointed out, there’s plenty of it perpetrated here within our own shores by more secular causes.

  12. Iain says:

    My statement about animal cruelty was not in any way meant to suggest that I ONLY find cruelty to animals contemptible if it is done in the name of a religion. But that does not mean that I cannot cite such instances for particular approbation does it?
    Of any reason to be cruel “God told me too” ranks the same as “the Devil made me do it” in my book….

  13. Stardust says:

    If people don’t like slaughtering methods in Australia where animals are pre-stunned, they can always become vegetarians.

  14. Lynn Gunter says:

    For all those here debating the humaness of slaughter, has it ever occured to you that the most inhumane part of most food animals lives is while they are alive. They are kept in crowded unsantitary conditions and treated like a crop. Death is probably a welcome relief. The only way to have animals that are treated humanely is to do away with the commercial farm and produce your own food on a family farm or buy from a family farm…

  15. Natasha says:

    Hey all – I don’t think it was mentioned but chickens have their beaks cut off (without any pain killer) and then are stuffed into rooms so small to the point that they cannot move, and their nails literally grow around the bars of the cages, over and over again, so that they cannot budge. Even ‘free-range’ products may continue this cruelty, with the only difference being that they are moved outside (still inside their small cage) for small periods a day – free range is not monitered.

    Furthermore, I think it is contemptible regardless of religon. To me, it doesn’t matter WHY you’re being cruel – the fact is, whatever your sketchy rationalizing, morals, or beliefs have you thinking, it’s cruelty either way, with the same end result. And I think it’s disgusting, not only that it happens, but that it is allowe to happen, because for some reason we as humans just don’t care. Clearly, if we cared, we wouldn’t eat meat, or we would advocate for cruelty free meat. Why on earth is our pain more important than that of an animal?

    “The question is not, can they reason, nor even can they talk, the question is, can they suffer?”

  16. Iain says:

    I don’t support the beak-cutting practice but you should know that a birds beak is like our fingernails, without any pain receptors at all, so no pain relief would be warranted.
    However I do not support any cruel practices when it comes to the farming of animals for meat.
    I keep chickens myself and although I don’t eat them (they are for eggs and form part of our own organic recycling set up). I do ensure that they have a good life.
    Welcome to my blog by the way 🙂

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