A shocking video has emerged showing the horrific treatment of animals at a halal abattoir in Yorkshire, U.K.
While the gruesome details revealed in the footage are indeed condemnable, the reaction, fueled by media frenzy and including calls for a complete ban on religious slaughter of animals without stunning them first, is a bit too hysterical.
The sale of halal/kosher meat has always been a controversial topic in the U.K. While animal rights campaigners claim religious slaughtering inflicts pain on animals without stunning them first, Muslims and Jews maintain that their method is a lot less cruel and quicker.
However, news coverage of this debate has always been way more controversial. Just last year, the notorious British tabloid The Sun caused (uncalled-for) uproar over the fact that Pizza Express was serving halal chicken.
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The headlines, which emerged after the latest video expose, are just as sensationalized, implying there is something wrong with the entire halal industry itself.
The fact that it’s the staff members – who, by the way, have been suspended and rightly so – responsible for the cruelty is not being talked about. Instead, emphasis is being placed on how religious slaughtering is bad itself when it has been proved time and again that it’s not.
The Islamic way of slaughtering animals without stunning them has a whole scientific methodology behind it. An exploratory study from one of Malaysia's leading research universities, Universiti Putra Malaysia, states:
“Islam prescribes that the halal animal should first be slaughtered before its consumption, in order to get rid of the blood. The Islamic method of slaughtering an animal is to cut its throat to enable as much blood to run out and not congeal in the veins.”
“The incision is made in the neck just below the glottis, cutting the throat and esophagus, the jugular vein and the carotid artery.”
The research says that it is important to note that this should be done without cutting the spinal cord or severing the head from the body. It must be ensured that the animal is dead before the “skinning and dismembering” of its body takes place.
"By cutting the windpipe and the carotid artery, the flow of blood to the nerve in the brain that causes the sensation of pain, is stopped," Times of India quoted a religious scholar in its 2012 article “Science of Meat.” "This leads to reduced pain. The animal may appear to struggle and kick but that's due to the contraction and relaxation of muscles deficient in blood rather than pain.”
Another study by animal by Dr. Temple Grandin reiterates the fact that religious slaughter, if not better than, is as humane as conventional mechanical slaughter.
Without any doubt, the inhumane practices at abattoirs are indeed widespread. However, implying its exclusive to halal or kosher slaughterhouses is just absurd.