Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halal DOES Hurt!

Halal, an Arabic term describing an object/action permissible to use/engage in under Islamic law, is widely used to designate permissible food.
Ritual halal slaughter as practiced in Islam and Judaism (throat-slitting while the animal is conscious) is often slammed as inhumane by animal welfare groups. In 2003, UK's Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) said this type of slaughter should be banned. Halal/kosher butchers were angered by the FAWC statement – naturally they felt their beliefs were threatened. The Muslim Council of Britain also objected, stating "the method is a sudden hemorrhage...quick loss of blood pressure...the brain is instantaneously starved of blood...no time to start feeling any pain."
Now a New Zealand study shows animals killed thus really do feel pain. Craig Johnson's team at Massey University (Palmerston North) lightly anaesthetised animals so, although they experienced no pain, electrical pain signals could still be detected. They killed calves in the halal/kosher method, and the animals generally lost consciousness after 10-30 sec...but pain signals were detected up to 2 minutes after the incision! Research showed the pain originated from severed throat nerves, not blood loss: the nerves send pain signals until the time of death. Then they stunned animals 5 seconds after incision and the pain signals disappeared instantly. The research proves if the animal is stunned, pain signals stop.
"The religious community is adamant animals don't experience any pain, so the results might be a surprise to them," says Johnson. "Our work is the best evidence yet that it's painful."
These findings may help religious groups at least consider other options to halal slaughter. As Mohammed said: "If you kill an animal, kill well...let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” (Sahih Muslim)

1 comment:

Paul in Manchester said...

Why can't the animal be killed humanely, with the butcher praying to his god? Surely that would keep everyone happy.