Thursday, March 6, 2014
Halal and kosher slaughter of animals should be outlawed, Britain's leading vet has said
John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, has argued that the ritual killing of poultry, sheep and cattle by cutting their throats causes unnecessary suffering to animals. Traditionally, Jewish and Islamic slaughter practices involve animals having their throats slit and the blood drained because it is "humane." But Blackwell, who has been accused of "inflaming prejudice" by religious leaders, says that animals must be stunned before the cut because some will be conscious for up to two minutes before death. The Danish government has been accused of religious persecution after it banned the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat. Blackwell said that the way halal and kosher meat is created, through the throat being slit, resulted in "five or six seconds" of pain for the animal. "They will feel the cut," he said. "They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck. They will perceive the aspiration of blood they will breath in before they lose consciousness." More than 6,000 animals are killed in religious abattoirs every week in Britain. The halal meat market is believed to be worth up to an estimated £2 billion. Charities including Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA also support the move to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning first. Lewis Grant, of the Veterinary Public Health Association, said that cuts left over from animals which have been slaughtered for halal and kosher meat often enter the general meat trade and people do not realise that they are eating it. The Jewish practice of slaughtering animals is known as shechita. Animals must be conscious when killed for the meat to be kosher under Jewish law and halal under Islamic law.