Muslim rules on halal meat mean ‘animals are dying in pain’


Update, Wednesday afternoon. What is most interesting about this is that the report from the University of Bristol, and the subsecquent comments by the President of the British Veterinary Association have been reported by virtually every daily national newspaper (I can’t find it in the Guardian, although I have searched). As has the observation that the practice of not stunning is increasing. The Times reported first, behind their paywall. I have taken this report largely from the London Evening Standard but the content of all newspapers is largely the same. 

Islamic scholars are often unaware that stunning animals before they are killed prevents them from feeling pain, a study has found.

Research by the University of Bristol found that scholars, who help set the rules on what meat is considered “halal”, often didn’t understand the science behind stunning.

Many ordinary Muslims were also ill-informed, the report found.

British Muslims are divided over whether pre-slaughter stunning is a legitimate practice. But the study concluded that it is increasingly being considered forbidden.  

Researchers at the School of Veterinary Science found that 69 per cent of Islamic scholars who were questioned said they didn’t think stunning prior to slaughter reduced an animal’s pain. Fifty-nine per cent of halal consumers believed the same.

The report which was published in the journal Meat Science said: “The lack of understanding of stunning among some scholars has resulted in the issuance of confusing fatwas [religious rulings] on the suitability of stunned meat for consumption by Muslims. There is an urgent need for these scholars to be given theoretical and practical education on stunning and other modern slaughter techniques such as mechanical slaughter.. .”

The British Muslim community is divided over pre-slaughter stunning, with some halal licensing bodies accepting it and others rejecting it. However, the belief that stunning is forbidden under Islam appears to be gaining ground, with the number of animals killed while conscious and able to feel pain soaring in recent years.

More than 2.4 million sheep and goats had their throats cut without stunning in the latest recorded year (2013), 60 per cent up on 2011, according to Food Standards Agency surveys.

I forgot to look in the Independent, a newspaper somewhat to the left of the very left-wing Guardian. It’s in the Independent today.

Halal meat study press coverage misleading and ‘insulting’ to Muslims,

One academic involved in the research, who did not want to be named partly because of concerns his reputation had been damaged by the newspaper coverage, told The Independent the use of the term was “insulting to Muslims” and gave a misleading impression of their work.

….findings about the level of knowledge would probably be reflected among the general population.

Anecdotally I am now getting e-mails from smaller animal charities and sanctuaries on the subject of halal and often specific halal slaughterhouses (some of which are now calling themselves non Muslim, non-halal type names). I think the increase has been noticed.



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