How many animals are unnecessarily slaughtered according to Islamic law?
Islamic Law dictates that animals should be slaughtered without anesthetic. The meat of animals slaughtered in this way can be simply purchased in the supermarket; its flavor is in no way distinctive. However, anaesthetized slaughtering causes far more animal suffering than when they are first ‘stunned’ with a slaughtering mask. In abattoirs, many more animals are slaughtered without anesthetic than there is demand for. It is possibly a less expensive method as it eliminates one step in the process. Time obviously means money even in an abattoir. But how many animals are unnecessarily slaughtered in Islamic way? Does this involve hundreds, thousands or are there even abattoirs who exclusively apply the anaesthetized method?
The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), an umbrella organization with veterinarians from more than thirty countries participating, is preparing a report stating that slaughter of animals without anesthetic is unacceptable. In October the chairman, Fred Nind, presented the five departure points of the so-called position paper during the Annual Congress of the Royal Dutch Society of Veterinary Surgeons.
In the first place, ritual slaughter causes extreme stress to animals. The animals need to be brought into the correct position for the slaughter. The tip-over devices used to adjust their position causes disorientation and stress in cows.
Also, the animals are not directly numbed after their throats have been slit. Until the moment that they lose consciousness, the animals experience pain. In that same period, blood or stomach contents can enter the animal’s lungs. In this case, a cow will suffocate in its own blood. Other possibilities are that the cow will suffocate when the brain nerves nervus vagus and the nervus phrenicus have been severed. Without use of these nerves, the lungs cease to function. The FVE concludes that ritual slaughter is ‘an insult to the integrity of the animal’.
Freedom of choice
A small amount of ritually slaughtered animals comes on the market as ‘normal’ meat. This applies particularly to the Jewish form of slaughter, the Shechita. Only the front portion of a slaughtered animal is eaten by Jewish people. The rear portion is assimilated in the form of ‘normal’ meat in the production chain. The same applies to animals which have been ‘rejected’. Following the slaughter, the Rabbi or another delegate will inspect the carcass as to irregularities. Particular attention is paid to the rib cage. Should irregularities be detected, the entire carcass will be rejected. Because, according to Jewish Laws, an animal must be completely healthy at the moment of slaughtering.
The excess of animals which have been ritually slaughtered also continues as ‘normal’ meat. This speaks for itself, explains the Commission for Approval of Livestock and Meat (RVV). Because the cow has been slaughtered in a certified abattoir, the meat coming from such an abattoir has been approved for consumption.