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do you care if your meat is stunned before slaughter?

(79 Posts)
salsmum Sun 14-Nov-10 00:40:01

Increasingly these days hospitals,schools, restuarants/takeaways and care homes are using Halal meat. I would like to know if the meat that I eat has been stunned before slaughter and find the Halal slaughter method particularly cruel (animals throat is cut while it is still concious) I just wanted to ask if any MNs would like to be given the choice whether they eat Halal meat and whether they would choose not to if the meat was labelled on the supermarket shelf? i.e. stating if the animal has been stunned prior to slaughter..some Halal meat the animals are pre-stunned beforehand IYSWIM? This isnt a post about religious beliefs so please don't flame me but mearly I'm interested to see if anyone else would rather have the choice to know

Mowiol Sun 14-Nov-10 00:49:11

Well, I think the method of slaughter is the key issue possibly?

Do we know scientifically exactly what death by bleeding out feels like?

It may be less unpleasant than being stunned and "shot". But I don't know. and I'm not vegetarian (and don't belive we are evolved to be vegetarian) so have not made a study of this.

I honestly do not know.

Desiderata Sun 14-Nov-10 01:18:02

I think a Jew would like to know if he was eating non Kosher food.

I think a non-Muslim is entitled to know whether their meat has been sacrificed according to some bogus religious belief.

If Halal is practised by non-Muslims because it's more humane, than I guess that's fine. If it's happening due to a burgeoning Islamist population, and there is an agenda attached, than it's not fine, and lines need to be drawn.

What's good for the goose, and all that ..

lowrib Sun 14-Nov-10 01:23:52

Have you just noticed that killing animals to eat them is a tad barbaric?

Animals on the factory line sometimes aren't properly stunned anyway. It's certainly not a "nice" death.

Desiderata Sun 14-Nov-10 01:25:57

No, it's certainly not a nice death, any way you play it.

lowrib Sun 14-Nov-10 01:34:56

If I ate meat I'd be more worried by stuff like this tbh "What's in the meat" - excerpt from Fast Food Nation

extremepie Sun 14-Nov-10 01:37:47

I was on the most recent series of 'kill it, cook it, eat it', and have seen the whole slaughter process up close and personally and I have to say I don't agree with Halal slaughter.
I don't have a problem if other people want to eat Halal meat for religious reasons, that is up to them, but I do find it more cruel.
For me one of the reasons why I think the 'standard' procedure for slaughter in the UK (ie, stunning prior to bleeding out) is ok, is the fact that the animal is not conscious when it is bled out. We had a very nice animal welfare guy with us explaining the process as it happened and even though the animals sometimes look as if they are kicking while they are killed, he assured us that the stunning process renders them 'brain dead' and the animal cannot think or feel pain after this point. Death is also very quick, it happens within 1-2 minutes.
As far as I'm aware Halal slaughter does not improve the quality or taste of the meat at all, it is purely religious, and part of the Halal process it that the animal is purposely not stunned. It is more common to get Halal chicken (even if it doesn't specify) because in the large industrial chicken factories (which produce cheap chicken), it is easier and quicker not to stun each animal individually.
I would imagine Halal beef is harder to find because, from my experience, I think it would be much harder to bleed out a cow while it was still conscious and moving!
If you are concerned about animal welfare I think your best bet is to buy British meat, as the 'British' standards of animal hygiene and welfare are much better than many other countries, especially for poultry and pigs. This does tend to make it more expensive, which is why, unless specified, imported meat is used in virtually all 'cheap' meat products (nuggets, etc..), most frozen meat products and most processed meat products.

Sorry for the long post but after being on the program I am really passionate about convincing people that it really is better for all involved to care about where your meat comes from and how it is cared for....and it tastes so much better too grin Check out, that's the farm we filmed on and their meat is amazing!

NowThen Sun 14-Nov-10 07:37:54

Yes, I care very much how animals are slaughtered. The whole process should be made as painless and stress free as possible. Imo religious beliefs or anything else should never get in the way of animal welfare.

Extremepie - interesting post. I too and passionate about where meat comes from. I'm vegetarian, but I shop for meat for dh at a local organic butcher who has his own organic farm. All his animals are slaughtered locally so they don't have to travel, and he has high animal welfare standards.

TattyDevine Sun 14-Nov-10 07:53:07

I care more about the quality and provenance of the meat, than how it is slaughtered specifically. I figure there is going to be an element of cruelty to their death regardless of how it is done, and I accept that and choose to eat it anyway. But I like to think they have had a life of a certain standard and that is what I look for when I buy meat.

Vallhala Sun 14-Nov-10 08:27:27

Lowrib has summed it up nicely. Attitudes like TattyDevine sums up equally nicely all that is wrong with the human race.

A stunned animal will, in the majority of cases in the UK, be subjected to pithing. This is where a metal rod is inserted into the hole made by the captive bolt gun and slid in and out to destroy the brain. This practice is most common in the UK.

Humane? Really? This is the approved, sanitised version

The stunning doesn't always render an animal unconscious.

Other methods used in the UK are electric stunning (where evidence proves that some animals regain consciousness before death), waterbath electrocution (commonly used on fowl and where cardiac arrest is supposed to occur but in some cases only severe injury and distress does), gassing and sticking. Sticking means that the major artery is severed by being stabbed... sometimes an animal will regain consciousness from this before death. The latter imho is an entirely dubious method employed surely by only the most questionable of all slaughterhousemen.

Then of course there is the abuse of live animals that goes on in slaughterhouses aside from murdering them.... the kicking and beating, evidence of which I have seen for myself.

Let's not forget too the fear that the animals feel as they are led to slaughter as hear their fellow beings cry out in pain and smell their blood.

ShanahansRevenge Sun 14-Nov-10 08:33:57

I want to know if it's been killed in the Halal way or not...I don't like the idea of killing all animals destined for meat, in way which makes it ok for one religion....if people need/want their meat prepared in a particular way then fine...but the rest of us don't have to eat it....we should be informedin shops and restaurants if the meat has ben prepared in that way.

faverolles Sun 14-Nov-10 08:39:46

Halal slaughter does not mean that the animal is conscious. In fact, death is quicker in proper Halal slaughter. Just wanted to point that out before more misconceptions are encouraged.
No, the animal isn't stunned, but due to the sharpness of the knife and the speed of the cut, death is almost instant.
But to me, the method of slaughter is irrelevant, and I wish more people would focus on how the animal has lived its life, and make choices that mean better welfare for the animals while they are alive. The slaughter side is such a tiny, tiny part of the animals life, and, having witnessed both types of slaughter, the only problem I can see is the religious aspect, which some people don't like. Personally, I can't see a bit of respect at the death of an animal as being a bad thing.

ShanahansRevenge Sun 14-Nov-10 08:42:21

faverolles I don't mind the prayer bit at all either..but how can having your throat slit be quicker than the oter way?

sarah293 Sun 14-Nov-10 08:42:28

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sarah293 Sun 14-Nov-10 08:45:22

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Vallhala Sun 14-Nov-10 08:50:37

And great post Riven. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that you're Muslim too? If so, I think that your comments prove that the issues in the slaughter of animals by far transcends religion.

Vallhala Sun 14-Nov-10 08:51:46

** Sorry, by "you're Muslim too?" I meant that you are speaking from the POV of being one who might otherwise eat Halal meat, not that I am also Muslim!

Ormirian Sun 14-Nov-10 08:53:27

Yes I would prefer to.

Annoys me that when I pay a premium for free-range meat with it's provenance known, I still can't prove whether it was killed humanely.

sarah293 Sun 14-Nov-10 09:08:01

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lljkk Sun 14-Nov-10 09:08:15

I care much more about the quality of the animal's life than how it dies.

fedupofnamechanging Sun 14-Nov-10 09:12:23

Wrt suffering, there's a huge difference between being stunned, unconscious and killed quickly and not being stunned and slowly bleeding to death with full awareness of what is happening.

I believe that Sikhs are not allowed to eat Halal meat (although I did hear that on the Wright Stuff blush so might be wrong)and people of other religions/no religion may not want a muslim prayer said over their meat.

For these reasons the consumer should be given this information, so they can make a choice for themselves.

For people who don't care, so long as the meat tastes okay, you can probably find videos on you tube which show you how the animal dies. if you can watch them and still don't care at least you'll be fully informed about your choices.

abr1de Sun 14-Nov-10 09:12:39

There are two kinds of jalap met, stunned and non stunned. Waitrose, instance, sells stunned halal. It is killed in the same way as normal, but the slaighterman reads a prayer.

Not really a problem. There is information on their website.

abr1de Sun 14-Nov-10 09:13:11

Halal, not jalap.

littlesez Sun 14-Nov-10 09:21:07

I don't eat meat because I strongly believe that it is cruel. I think how ever you kill an animal its still dead! like mowiol says how do we know bleeding to death is worse than being "stunned" I find it all just really horrible sad Either way sounds like torture to me

BollocksToThis Sun 14-Nov-10 09:44:36

Oh my goodness, so much misinformation in this thread!

Valhalla, I really respect you for your good work with dogs but some of the info you have re slaughter is way, way out of date.

Pithing has been banned in animals destined for the human food chain since 1st July 2001 (because it was shown to cause emboli of CNS tissue to make their way into the bloodstream of the animal, and potentially into the meat - in the aftermath of BSE all central nervous system tissue from cattle and sheep is classed as SRM (specified risk material) and cannot enter the food chain). Unfortunately this has serious animal welfare implications - much as it sounds and appears unkind, if you stop and think about it there's no way you could be conscious and experiencing pain once your brain's been lacerated by a pithing rod. So eliminating pithing from the process has actually increased the likelihood that the animal will experience pain, in those cases where stunning is ineffective or where there is a delay in sticking.

Sticking is the technical term used to describe the cut made to sever the jugular veins and carotid arteries. It is the method by which all sheep and cattle are bled following stunning (or not, for Halal slaughter), not a method chosen by particularly sick and twisted slaughtermen hmm. A successful sticking by a trained slaughterman should result in an incredibly rapid drop in blood pressure with accompanied loss of consciousness. Blood may run to the head due to gravity but in practice the palpebral (blink) reflex is almost always absent at this point, confirming the absence of consciousness.

It is my understanding (and I am by no means particularly knowledgeable when it comes to the minutiae of various religious matters) that some religious groups have conceded to pre-slaughter stunning on the basis that the animal is crucially still alive when the cut is made, just not actually conscious. Another concession that has been made in some cases is that stunning has been allowed post-sticking.

And just for information, extremepie, animals are not allowed to move around during Halal slaughter - there are specific crates designed to keep them still to minimise the risk of failed sticking and subsequent suffering (not to mention human injury). See [[ c4debbc341ff67139df4b82b/products/photos/127609019 1picupload.jpg.jpg here]] for a pic.

I've spent a lot of time in slaughterhouses, and I've seen things go wrong, but I have also seen how highly skilled and professional most of the workforce are. Of course there are rotten apples but in my experience it is a job taken seriously and the animals are treated with respect. And, vitally, suffering is minimised.

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