Animal welfare 'obsessed' with religious slaughter

23 February 2015

Bitterwallet - bacon sandwich Spoiler alert: the animal gets killed at the end.

Do you eat meat? Then you'll know that, regardless, something delicious died for you to chew. Those that eat meat will find it hard to ever fully justify eating animals, beyond the fact that, when it comes down to it, you morals aren't as strong as your love as munching bits of pig, cow, chicken or whatever.

Some people are very concerned with the welfare of animals before someone kills them and hacks them to bits. They want sheep to gambol around the fields before a butcher drains them of their blood and turns them into chops. Most people aren't bothered, because you can't tell the difference between the flavours enough, once you've thrown minced up animal in your bolognese.

Fact is, it is a bit cruel culling animals just so we can turn them into pies, but sadly for the animals involved, they are incredibly pleasant to eat and nothing has ever sufficiently replaced the tastiness of flesh.

With that, Jewish and Muslim leaders are apparently tired of animal rights lobbyists who are getting 'obsessed' with the way they kill animals for food. These pressure groups aren't at all happy with non-stun slaughtering and the Muslims and Jews are beginning to think that campaigners are so focused on their butchery that they're doing it to the point of forgetting about almost all other animal welfare issues.

They say the practices that are most complained about only account for a tiny percentage of animals killed.

This all coincides with a House of Commons debate which is responding to an internet petition which is calling for a ban on non-stun animal slaughter. The petition drew in advance of 115,000 signatures, while an opposing petition got itself 72,000. The rest of the country, you'd assume, was too busy seeing how much bacon it could shove in its gob and dreaming about sausages to even slightly worry about dead creatures.

Shimon Cohen of Shechita UK, who campaign for Jewish religious slaughter, says: "Since January 2013 there has been a House of Lords Debate and a Westminster Hall Debate on the subject, with a third debate scheduled for Monday. Many other animal welfare concerns, such as game hunting and mechanical mis-stunning, have not been debated once in that time."

"This continued focus on religious slaughter is dog-whistle politics of the worst sort and its effect is to undermine community relations. For animal welfare groups to keep pushing for a ban is wild-eyed and obsessive."

Cohen reckons that Shechita, which sees an animals throat, windpipe and blood vessels getting cut, killing it instantly, amounts to less than 1% of all slaughter in the UK.

He added: "Two weeks ago a horrific film of extraordinary disregard for animal welfare at a non-mechanically stunned abattoir in Yorkshire came to light. Animal welfare campaigners called for an end of religious slaughter. Four days later a similar video was released at a conventional slaughter house and I didn't hear one call to end conventional slaughter."

"If there is a genuine interest in improving animal welfare standards at time of slaughter, we need to look at many areas like abattoir practices, CCTV and mis-stunning. This fixation with religious slaughter beggars belief. At the moment the Muslim community is being tarred by the horrors of terrorism and these calls for a ban on religious slaughter feed into that mood music."

Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, added: "Muslim and Jewish slaughter practice is being singled out when animal welfare abuses in non-religious slaughter houses are being ignored. Proper ritual slaughter is not incompatible with animal welfare."

We'd argue that 'proper ritual slaughter' is rather incompatible with animal welfare, what with the result being a corpse. A delicious corpse we can't wait to get our teeth into, granted. The fact is that, slaughtering animals for us to eat isn't ever in the animal's interest. Ever. Unless of course, cows dream about becoming steak bakes.

Even if you cuddled a sheep to death or kissed a cow until it passed out of bliss in a sunny field, the point remains is that, at some point, the creature isn't going to wake up and you're going to end up crapping it out. Unless you're doing it for the flavour, no-one can say that slaughtering an animal has anything to do with its well-being.

Maybe Bitterwallet should start a campaign called: 'Eating Meat: Not An Ideal Set-Up, But What Are You Gonna Do Eh?'

TOPICS:   Restaurants


  • jaffacake
    this is all quite true. surely it's more important to ensure that an animal has a happy contented time during the weeks and months from birth, during the time it's being raised and fattened, than to worry overmuch about the last 10 minutes of it's life; in which, no matter how you look at it, the thing is turned from a beast to a corpse.
  • Myrtle
    "Shechita, which sees an animals throat, windpipe and blood vessels getting cut, killing it instantly". Instantly? Er, no. Whilst I'd agree that all animal slaughter is barbaric to some degree, surely ensuring that animals are treated with as much compassion as possible (even if you must eat them), is both possible and desirable. It is also a blatant lie to say that the pressure from animal welfare groups is solely focused on religious slaughter - in fact, animal welfare groups are the first to point out that the focus is misplaced, and should be on slaughter practices across the board. That's why there is a campaign to install CCTV in abattoirs, Of course the only truly, and thoroughly, humane way to tackle the problem is to give up meat and dairy. But as that's unlikely to happen overnight, we should at least do the best we can with the situation we have.
  • Katrina L.
    IF people insist on eating animals, to the detriment of said animals, the planet and human health, the very LEAST that can be done is to ensure that those animals are competently stunned prior to having their throats cut. But don't be fooled into thinking that this small act of consideration makes the slaughter ethical or humane - there IS No humane way to take the life of an animal who doesn't want to die and there can surely be no ethical debate around the fact that we have no right to decide which other Earthlings should live and die; but it DOES reduce the barbarity of intentionally cutting the throat of another intelligent and sentient being. Competent stunning does not, of course, lessen the negative impacts of animal agriculture on the human body and the planet. Religious choice should not and MUST not EVER come before animal welfare - what you do in your homes and what god you choose to worship is your own personal choice, but when those choices contribute to the suffering of others, you have crossed a line. Likewise, what you choose to eat is your own personal choice, but your personal choice should not extend to demanding other animals we share this planet with are bred, exploited and slaughtered for your tasting pleasure – this takes away the choice of those animals, to live the life they are entitled to live. There is certainly no medical or health reasons for consuming flesh, dairy or eggs and plenty of evidence that suggests we are healthier without it, inarguably in respect to dairy, which is an even more horrific industry than the meat industry. In regard to Muslims being forbidden from consuming parts of pigs, alcohol or blood; I would here suggest to you that ALL products made from flesh contain blood and if you don't want to consume/are forbidden to consume blood, you become vegetarian... though you will still have blood on your hands if you choose to consume dairy or eggs, the dairy industry being arguably more violent and barbaric than the meat industry. If eating animals not slaughtered in a particular way, or containing blood (again, pretty much a standard ingredient of “meat”), I'd suggest you become vegan, and then you won't be contributing to the intentional harm of ANY animals, which is after all, what the Koran directs you to do, no? “Prophet Muhammad was the embodiment of mercy, he showed compassion to all those around him, family, orphans, friends, strangers and even enemies. He also treated the environment and animals with respect and mercy. He taught his followers that because animals were part of God’s creation they should be treated with dignity and due care. The traditions of Prophet Muhammad remind us that humankind was put on this earth to be the custodian of God’s creation. Treating animals with kindness and mercy is just one of the responsibilities embedded in that custodianship. Prophet Muhammad’s words and behaviour make it clear that causing defenceless creatures pain and suffering is not only completely unacceptable, but we will also be answerable to God for such actions.” ( Kosher slaughter is just completely inexcusable as it does not even allow for reversible pre-stunning (as Islam does), so if you're Kosher Jewish - just don't eat animals - stop imposing your own personal belief in fictional characters onto other Earthlings. You’ll be healthier, you’ll be kinder and you’ll be contributing to the destruction of the planet a fraction of what you would as a consumer of animal flesh and secretions. So no, NO slaughter carried out in a commercial abattoir is humane, or justified, or ethical; ALL slaughter carried out in commercial abattoirs is violent and against the animals’ will as is the killing of any animal who is fit and well to live his or her life. If you care about the planet and you children/grandchildren’s future, if you care about your health, if you consider yourself an animal lover and a compassionate person, there is only one choice – go vegan.
  • Albi
    "Cohen reckons that Shechita, which sees an animals throat, windpipe and blood vessels getting cut, killing it instantly, amounts to less than 1% of all slaughter in the UK." That is still one million animals you tit.
  • Luke
    It's called "The Food Chain". Does a Wolf Pack consider the opinion of its prey when it decides to hunt? As long as the Animal is raised and slaughtered in as humane a way as possible, shut up and serve my dinner. Sentience is wasted on some people.
  • Hoosten
    Religion and animal right activism share so many of the same attributes - bigotry, irrational reasoning, emotion driven belief systems - that it's always ironic when they fall out. Of course animals don't have intrinsic rights you bulging eyed fuckwits - you can't apply a human concept, designed for human society, to a non human entity. Morality exists to protect our wellbeing and continued existence, it is self serving and does not cross the species barrier. 'Humane'. Take off the 'e'. It's not rocket surgery...
  • The S.
    @Hoosten You were doing alright until you reached here: "Morality exists to protect our wellbeing and continued existence, it is self serving and does not cross the species barrier." That would be fine if it wasn't for the countless examples of man's inhumanity to man. If animals don't have rights, humans deserve far less for the way they treat their own species, usually defined by the colour of someone's skin or their religious beliefs. If that's how the majority of "humans" exercise their morality, they really don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to deciding the fates of animals. Personally, I wouldn't trust a human to recycle my waste paper let alone destroy it.
  • Hoosten
    @TEDS Well I don't disagree with you that man's ability to formulate and abide by moral codes leaves plenty to be desired by my own standards. But ultimately we decide subjectively what is 'deserved' and what is 'right' - animals by their nature are not part of that dialogue. They are not investors in morality and thus do not reap the potential benefits. To paraphrase - there's nothing intrinsic about animals that grants them 'rights'. We may decide to hand them out by proxy, for example to a family pet, or an endangered rhinoceros, but without exception this should occur within the confines of human interests. The inability of some humans to meet your interpretation of morality doesn't change matters.
  • The S.
    @Hoosten As far as I was aware, we're all residents of the same small rock. What gives us the right to assume we're better than any other resident? Your statement: "We may decide to hand them out by proxy, for example to a family pet, or an endangered rhinoceros, but without exception this should occur within the confines of human interests." Erm, the reason the rhinoceros is endangered is *because* of human interests. There is absolutely no way humans should be considered guardians of this planet. At a pinch, a bunch of unruly squatters. The thing is, most animals/insects et al are intrinsically linked to nature which does a remarkable job of trying to keep this planet healthy despite humanity's best efforts. Dismiss animals as not worthy of consideration, and you risk pulling the rug out from under your own feet.

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