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Islamic Slaughtering of Animals – Humane or Inhumane?

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The Islamic way of Slaughtering Animals - Humane or Inhumane?


There is a widespread misconception amongst non-Muslims that the Islamic method of slaughtering animals is brutal, inhumane, and causes the animals to undergo torturous pain. This misconception is also held by modernist ‘Muslims’ who entertain doubts regarding the wisdom, efficacy, and mercy inherent in the Islamic sacred method of slaughtering as commanded and practised by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).



The Islamic practice of slaughtering animals by means of a sharp cut to the front of the neck has frequently come under attack by some animal rights activists as being a form of animal cruelty, the claim being that it is a painful inhumane method of killing animals.




As Muslims we do not need proofs to convince us of the beauty of Islamic teachings. Alhamdulillah we hold on with firm faith on every commandment of Allah ta'ala and His Prophet, Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam. We do however intend to make this compilation for the non-Muslims who can study the facts with an open mind and for those Muslims of weaker faith who have been taken in by Western media propaganda.


Unfortunately Islam comes under attack on every issue regardless of the fact that other religions may be teaching the same principles. Slaughtering in Judaism is similar to slaughtering in Islam!


InshaAllah, after studying the facts it will become clear that the divine instructions of carrying out the slaughter of animals is without doubt the most humane.

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The Conditions & Rules Pertaining To A Valid Slaughter In The Sacred Law


The rules and laws governing hunting and slaughtering are given great importance in traditional Islamic jurisprudence, because of the importance Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace) gave them.


The fuqaha (jurists) have explained these rules in great detail in their various works, deducing from the Qur’an, Prophetic example (sunna), and the sayings of the Companions (Allah be pleased with them). Very rarely will one find a book in traditional Islamic jurisprudence without a complete chapter on hunting and slaughtering.


We can obviously not cover all of these rules in this brief article; neither is that our aim, but the basic fundamentals and important principles with regards to the slaughtering of animals can be mentioned.


There are basically three conditions for a valid slaughter according to Shariah:


a) Most of the four veins (including the Jugular vein, according to some) must be cut with a knife or a tool that is sharp and has a cutting edge;


b) The name of Allah must be taken at the time of slaughtering, whether actually or effectively (such as when it is forgotten by someone who would normally have said it);


c) The slaughterer must be either a Muslim or from the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab). (As mentioned by al-Haskafi and Ibn Abidin in Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)


It should be also remembered here that, all these conditions are necessary individually and separately. Failure to fulfil them will render the animal unlawful.


[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK 

Rules and conditions in more detailSource

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The Islamic Method of Slaughtering Animals



The object used to slaughter the animal should be sharp and used swiftly. The swift cutting of vessels of the neck disconnects the flow of blood to the nerves in the brain responsible for pain. Thus the animal does not feel pain. The movements and withering that happen to the animal after the cut is made are not due to pain, but due to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles deficient in blood. The prophet (peace be upon him) also taught Muslims neither to sharpen the blade of the knife in front of the animal nor to slaughter an animal in front of others of its own kind.


The cut should involve the windpipe (trachea), gullet (esophagus), and the two jugular veins without cutting the spinal cord. This method results in the rapid gush of blood draining most of it from the animal’s body. If the spinal cord is cut, the nerve fibers to the heart might be damaged leading to cardiac arrest thus resulting in stagnation of blood in the blood vessels. The blood must be drained completely before the head is removed. This purifies the meat by removing most of the blood that acts as a medium for microorganisms; meat also remains fresh longer as compared to other methods of slaughtering.







(Click on picture to enlarge)

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You Can't Just Kill - Animal Rights in Islam

By Mufti Ismail Menk








Mercy Halal Islamic Slaughter

youtube video - has been "halalified" here however video can be seen on youtube.

It shows how just by taking the name of Allah subhaanahu wata'ala, the animal becomes extremely calm.



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German Research Studies Pain


A study carried out by Professor Wilhelm Schulze and his colleague Dr. Hazim at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover University in Germany. The study: ‘Attempts to Objectify Pain and Consciousness in Conventional (captive bolt pistol stunning) and Ritual (halal, knife) Methods of Slaughtering Sheep and Calves’ concludes that Islamic slaughtering is the most humane method of slaughter and that captive bolt stunning, practiced in the West, causes severe pain to the animal.


In the study, several electrodes were surgically implanted at various points of the skull of all animals, touching the surface of the brain. The animals were allowed to recover for several weeks. Some animals were then slaughtered by making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck cutting the jugular veins and the carotid arteries as well as the trachea and esophagus (Islamic method). Other animals were stunned using a Captive Bolt Pistol (CBP). During the experiment, an electroencephalograph (EEG) and an electrocardiogram (ECG) recorded the condition of the brain and the heart of all animals during the course of slaughter and stunning.


The results were as follows:


I – Islamic Method


1. The first three seconds from the time of Islamic slaughter as recorded on the EEG did not show any change from the graph before slaughter, thus indicating that the animal did not feel any pain during or immediately after the incision.


2. For the following 3 seconds, the EEG recorded a condition of deep sleep – unconsciousness. This is due to the large quantity of blood gushing out from the body.


3. After the above-mentioned 6 seconds, the EEG recorded zero level, showing no feeling of pain at all.


4. As the brain message (EEG) dropped to zero level, the heart was still pounding and the body convulsing vigorously (a reflex action of the spinal cord) driving a maximum amount of blood from the body thus resulting in hygienic meat for the consumer.



II – Western method by C.B.P. Stunning


1. The animals were apparently unconscious soon after stunning.


2. EEG showed severe pain immediately after stunning.


3. The hearts of animals stunned by C.B.P. stopped beating earlier as compared to those of the animals slaughtered according to the Islamic method resulting in the retention of more blood in the meat. This in turn is unhygienic for the consumer.



Western-Style Slaughtering and Mad Cow’s Disease


Not only is this method of stunning animals before the slaughter severely painful as shown by the previous experiment, but there is also a rising concern that this method may be a factor in the spread of mad cow’s disease from cattle to humans as it was discovered in recent research carried out at Texas A&M University and by Canada’s Food Inspection Agency, that a method called pneumatic stunning (which is the firing of a metal bolt into the cow’s brain followed by a pulverizing burst of 150 pounds of air pressure) delivered a force so explosive that it scattered brain tissue throughout the animal. This news is disturbing since the brain tissue and spinal cord are the most infectious parts of an animal with mad cow disease, which causes fatal Swiss cheese like holes in the brain of the infected animal. It is more disturbing to find out that around 30 to 40 percent of American cattle are stunned by pneumatic guns.



Islamic Regulations for the Slaughter


As one can see from the previous studies, Islamic slaughtering of animals is a blessing to both the animal and to humans alike. In order for the slaughtering to be lawful, several measures must be taken by the one performing the deed. This is to ensure the highest benefit to both the animal and the consumer.



By Dr. Aisha EI-Awady


Is Stunning Cruel.pdf

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According to Dr. Temple Grandin


Recommended Ritual Slaughter Practices

Ritual slaughter is slaughter done according to the religious requirements of either the Jewish or Muslim religious faith. The animal is slaughtered, without being stunned, with a razor sharp knife. When the cut is done correctly, the animal appears not to feel it. From an animal welfare standpoint, the major concern during ritual slaughter are the stressful and cruel methods of restraint (holding) that are used in some plants. Progressive slaughter plants use devices to hold the animal in a comfortable, upright position. Unfortunately, there are some plants which use cruel methods of restraint such as hanging live animals upside down. At Grandin Livestock Systems, we believe that the practice of hanging live cattle and calves upside down should be eliminated. For both humane and safety reasons, plants which conduct ritual slaughter should install modern upright restraining equipment. There are many different types of humane restraint devices available.



Welfare During Slaughter without stunning (Kosher or Halal) differences between Sheep and Cattle

Full article Here


Overall Welfare

Some sheep die more quickly and are less likely to have extended periods of insensibility and should not be lumped together with cattle when welfare without stunning is being discussed. Sheep also do not require expensive, complicated restraint equipment. A lamb can be easily straddled by a person while standing in an upright position and cut. It is likely that a lamb slaughtered on the farm with a very sharp knife may have better welfare than a lamb that has to be subjected to the stress of being transported. A very sharp knife is essential. To test the knife it should be able to slice a standard A4 printer paper that is held dangling by one corner. The knife must be dry for this test. To help prevent pain the wound must be held opend during the act and the knife must be long enough so that it's tip remains outside the neck during the cut. The best cutting method is a Kosher or Halal cut that severs both carotid areteris. In situations where the loss of posture cannot be observed, a fixed fully dilated pupil can be used to determine complete loss of sensibility. When sheep are cut correctly, a fixed fully dilated pupil will occur in 20 seconds (Miriam Parker, Personal Communication in 2011). In sheep the wound should be held open during bleed out to facilitate bleed out. Cutting cattle close to the jawbone in the C1 position will help prevent false aneuryms and improve bleed out compared to the C2 to C4 position (Gregory et al, 2011).

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Halal Slaughter of Animals – Humane or Inhumane?



There is a widespread misconception amongst non-Muslims that the Islamic method of slaughtering animals is brutal, inhumane, and causes the animals to undergo torturous pain. This misconception is also held by modernist ‘Muslims’ who entertain doubts regarding the wisdom, efficacy, and mercy inherent in the Islamic sacred method of slaughtering as commanded and practised by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Furthermore, the misconception is given impetus by the almost universal practice of so-called ‘Halal’ food authorities condoning or certifying an abominable, hybrid system consisting of foreign and brutally barbaric systems of slaughter adopted from the West, coated with a thin facade of rituals that are supposedly Islamic – all designed to facilitate for the carrion-addicted Muslim masses their self-serving deception that the diseased end-product of this mutated system is Halaal.


Dr. Temple Grandin is recognised widely in the western world as the world’s leading expert on humane methods of animal slaughter. She has practically devoted her life to researching, designing, and experimenting on equipment and methods aimed at improving the conditions in which animals are reared, and the manner in which they are slaughtered. Having observed literally thousands of animals undergoing slaughter through various methods, over a period of decades, her observations can be said to carry some weight, at least according to the emphasis placed on empiricism by modern science. Her observations regarding the Jewish Kosher system of slaughter, many aspects of which are similar to the Islamic system, are worth noting here – primarily for the benefit of both sincere non-Muslims who are open-minded to a truth that may run against what they wish to believe in, and for the benefit of the growing number of non-Muslims pretending to be Muslims who should not be in need of scientific facts to be convinced of the superiority of Islamic laws.


Describing the initial, complete lack of reaction exhibited by animals after having been subject to the Jewish Kosher method of slaughter, Dr Temple Grandin states:


“The author (i.e. Temple Grandin) designed and operated four state-of-the-art restraint devices that hold cattle and calves in a comfortable upright position during kosher (Jewish; Fig 3) slaughter. To determine whether cattle feel the throat cut, at one plant the author deliberately applied the head restrainer so lightly that the animals could pull their heads out. None of the 10 cattle moved or attempted to pull their heads out.”


Dr. Grandin goes on to mention that such is the calmness and unawareness of the cattle of its throat having been cut, that even tapping its head or face have been observed to elicit a far greater reaction:


“Observations of hundreds of cattle and calves during kosher slaughter indicated that there was a slight quiver when the knife first contacted the throat. Invasion of the cattle’s flight zone by touching its head caused a bigger reaction. In another informal experiment, mature bulls and Holstein cows were gently restrained in a head holder with no body restraint. All of them stood still during the cut and did not appear to feel it.”


She does admit that this did surprise her initially:

“…when I’ve seen shechita on a cow done really right by a really good shochet, the animal seemed to act like it didn’t even feel it – if I walked up to that animal and put my hand in its face I would have got a much bigger reaction than I observed from the cut, and that was something which really surprised me.”


Dr. Grandin observes that even when the onset of unconsciousness is delayed, there is still no sign of distress discernible:

“Cattle do not appear distressed even when the onset of unconsciousness is delayed. Pain and distress cannot be determined by measurements such as an electroencephalogram. Behavioral observations, however, are valid measures for assessing pain. The author has observed that cattle appear unaware that their throat is cut. Investigators in New Zealand have made similar observations. Immediately after the cut, the head holder should be loosened slightly to allow the animal to relax. The author also has observed that after the head restraint is released, the animal collapses almost immediately or stands and looks around like a normal, alert animal. Within 5 to 60 seconds, cattle go into a hypoxic spasm and sensibility appears to be lost.”


Unfortunately as a result of the acute prevalence of unislamic and foreign systems adopted widely by Muslims today, tolerated and given the stamp of approval by evil modernist scholars (Ulama-e-Soo) dictated by pecuniary and stomach-related motives, Dr. Grandin appears never to have witnessed the proper Islamic system of slaughter. Her observation of what she mistakenly deemed to be the Islamic method, is particularly damning and representative of Muslims today who have adopted an abominably mutated, hybrid system of unislamic practices coated superficially with a few Islamic rituals:


“The design of the knife and the cutting technique appeared to be critical in preventing the animal from reacting to the cut. In kosher slaughter, a straight, razor-sharp knife that is twice the width of the throat is required, and the cut must be made in a single continuous motion. For halal (Muslim) slaughter, there are no knife-design requirements. Halal slaughter performed with short knives and multiple hacking cuts resulted in a vigorous reaction from cattle. Fortunately, many Muslim religious authorities accept preslaughter stunning. Muslims should be encouraged to stun the cattle or use long, straight, razor-sharp knives that are similar to the ones used for kosher slaughter.”


What Dr. Grandin does not realize, through no fault on her part, is that the true Islamic system is restricted and governed by far more rules than any other method of slaughter in the world. Just as Muslims today have abandoned Islamic values and rules in every sphere of life, primarily in the name of modernisation, so too have they replaced the Islamic system of slaughter with the brutal hybrid system in vogue everywhere.


At this point, it is worth mentioning just a few of the Islamic rules defined in detail by the Fuqaha (classical Islamic jurists of the 4 accepted schools of thought in Islam) over a millennium ago, which have been abandoned completely by Muslims today. These integral requisites of the Islamic system include ensuring that:


(1) The animal is reared from birth in the most humane and comfortable environment. Any distress or pain caused to the animal at any point in time is completely forbidden.

(2) The tender and gentle treatment must continue right up till the time of the slaughter. The animal must be completely unaware of the slaughter.

(3)  The animal is fed and given water to drink prior to the slaughter.

(4) The knife must be exceedingly sharp and suitable for the purpose.

(5) The knife must never be sharpened in the presence of the animal.

(6) The slaughter of one animal must never take place in the presence of another animal. Even the blood left over by one animal should never ever be visible to another animal.

(7) The recitation of the Tasmiya (and Durood Shareef) must take place which exercises a calming effect on the animal.

(8) The one who slaughters the animal must be known to be a righteous (Aadil) person who can be trusted with the animals. And there are many more incumbent requirements of the Islamic system, all of which contribute to the smoothness of the process, and ensures that at no point in time does the animal have any opportunity to get agitated.


Dr. Grandin does observe that animals without visible signs of agitation prior to the slaughter lose sensibility and collapse more quickly:


“Observations by the author indicated that near immediate collapse can be induced in over 95% of cattle if the ritual slaughterer makes a rapid, deep cut close to the jawbone. Further observations indicated that calm cows and bulls lose sensibility and collapse more quickly than cattle with visible signs of agitation.”


After having observed a Jewish Kosher plant that failed to abide by the code which governs their slaughter, Dr Grandin states that fault should not be attributed to the method of slaughter. Rather, criticism should be directed at those who are guilty of abandoning the compulsory requisites of the particular method of slaughter:


“I thought it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been in at least 30 other kosher slaughter plants, and I had never ever seen that kind of procedure done before. … I’ve seen kosher slaughter really done right, so the problem here is not kosher slaughter. The problem here is a plant that is doing everything wrong they can do wrong.”


Dr. Temple Grandin’s conclusions based on extensive real-life tests and observations are corroborated by other experts who have had a similarly extensive experience in this field.  For example, Professor Harold Burrow of the Royal Veterinary College states:


“Having witnessed the Jewish method carried out on many thousands of animals, I am unable to persuade myself that there is any cruelty attached to it. As a lover of animals, an owner of cattle and a veterinary Surgeon I would raise no objection to any animal bred, reared or owned by me being subjected to this method of slaughter.”


The results of a scientific study on the Halaal slaughter method carried out some years ago by a team headed by Professor Wilhelm Schulze of Hanover University, also then the Director of the University of Veterinary Medicine of Hanover, matches in virtual exactitude Dr Grandin’s independent conclusions, and serve as further corroboratory evidence of the lack of pain experienced by animals that undergo the true Islamic method of slaughter with all its compulsory requirements abided by.  The study named, “Attempts to Objectify Pain and Consciousness in Conventional (captive bolt pistol stunning) and Ritual (HALAL, knife) Methods of Slaughtering Sheep and Calves” involved surgically implanting electrodes into various points in the skull of 17 sheep and 10 calves to enable measurements of impulses from the cerebral cortex. EEG (electroencephalograph) readings from this method give accurate measurements of the levels of brain activity and consciousness of the animals.


After a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck of the animals, there was no change to the EEG reading initially, confirming the fact that animals are completely unaware of being cut during and after the slaughter incision. Within a time-scale range of 4-10 seconds the EEG reading dropped significantly indicating a state of complete unconsciousness – a reading that is similar to that registered by an animal in deep sleep. A zero reading of the EEG, indicating a state of virtual brain inactivity (total unconsciousness and insensibility), was recorded no later than 23 seconds for all the animals (13 seconds for the sheep).


Only after the zero reading was registered and the brain currents had stopped, did regular convulsions and cramps occur in the animals. This is the phase which is most aesthetically unpleasant to the onlooker and can give the erroneous impression to the uneducated that the animal is reacting from distress. In all the tested animals convulsions occurred only after deep unconsciousness had set in. Dr Grandin’s observations independent to this study also confirm this fact.


In fact, the accepted scientific explanation behind convulsions confirm the fact that the animals are completely unconscious when this phase occurs. Convulsions occur due to the sudden shortage of oxygen to the brain which triggers the muscles of the body to contract vigorously and squeeze out blood from the tissues into the central circulation system to be sent to the brain. Since the venal and arterial connections to the brain have been severed, the pumped blood never reaches its intended destination, thus starving the brain further and intensifying the state of unconsciousness. These convulsions act as the most powerful and efficient means through which the maximum amount of blood is expelled from the body, which in turn induces, in the most rapid manner possible, transition from a complete state of unconsciousness to death.


People who undergo epileptic fits undergo similarly violent convulsions, when the brain deprived of oxygen triggers the same process that ostensibly gives the impression of pain and distress. Such people who experience fits can confirm the total absence of pain sensation and even memory of their violent convulsions, even though they may have sustained injuries due to the body falling and writhing about.


Life experiences of humans also confirm the fact that unexpected injuries, even serious ones, can occur without the person feeling any pain initially, despite the ostensibly gory scene that ensues. It is fairly common for victims of knife wounds, for example, to be completely oblivious to the fact that they’ve been fatally wounded, until some time later. In fact, there are numerous instances of people who have managed live to tell the tale after having been inflicted with a sudden clean cut to throat, and who describe being completely unaware of the fatal injury before passing out suddenly and regaining consciousness much later. The only sensation usually felt is that of a warm liquid flowing rapidly down one’s chest. To cite one example that can be easily verified online, Mr Mark Wells had his throat slit in an attempted murder which was reported in newspapers a few years ago. He recalls feeling no pain whatsoever, despite the obviously gory scene that would have been observable to any onlooker. Only after having looked in the mirror and witnessed the horrific state of his body did he say panic set in: “All I felt was a warm feeling coming down my throat all of a sudden. I thought it was just a nick. I stood up and looked in the mirror and there was all this flesh hanging down. That’s when I freaked out.” The next thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital “with cops all around me”.


The process of bleeding itself is pain-free as can be confirmed by any blood donor. Furthermore, modern science confirms the fact that very heavy bleeding starves the brain of oxygen and induces unconsciousness rapidly. The onset of convulsions akin to fits, signals a state of complete unconsciousness.


Another point to bear in mind is that animals in the wild invariably die violent and/or ostensibly painful deaths whether by falling prey to other animals, through contracting disease, experiencing accidents, starvation etc. Very rarely does an animal in the wild die purely due to old age. Rather, as an animal approaches old age, it becomes an easier target for predators or competitors, and more prone to disease and accidents. Furthermore, the extremely negligible number of animals that may die of natural causes (if we discount predators, disease, etc. as ‘natural causes’), or are domesticated as pets, pass away in a manner that appears painfully slow and gradual.


The detailed rules and restrictions set out by the Fuqaha (classical Islamic jurists) on rearing animals and slaughtering provide the most humane conditions in which an animal can live, breed, and pass away. Much to the chagrin of modernist Muslims today, these detailed rules and restrictions form a huge obstacle to commercializing a sacred process which is inherently slow, dignified, and humane. The compromise of Islamic rules approved by modernist scholars today in an attempt to mass-commercialize the sacred Islamic process renders the resultant system completely unIslamic, regardless of the few rituals that are superficially added in order to dupe the Muslim masses. Just as modernists in the name of ‘updating’ Islam for the modern age have bypassed the categorical rulings of the Fuqaha in every other sphere of life, so too have modernists abandoned the detailed restrictions and guidelines which govern the Islamic sacred process of rearing and slaughtering animals.


The Muslims masses who have adopted a way of life that is the very antithesis of the Islamic selfless spirit, and which revolves around brazen selfishness, unbridled fulfilment of their desires, and gratification of their gluttonous appetites, are no less culpable than the evil modernist scholars (Ulama-e-soo’) who give sanction to the brutal systems of ‘halaal’ slaughtering prevailing everywhere.


Every minute detail of all spheres of life governing the Islamic way of life has been defined by the Fuqaha over a millennium ago. These rules represent the way of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and are immutable and unchangeable, no matter how incompatible or unpalatable they may appear to Muslim brains colonized by the west in this age of crass materialism and commercialization. Effecting changes to any of the rules set by the Fuqaha, in the name of modernisation, westernism, or any other foreign system, renders the end-product completely alien to Islamic teachings.

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The Issue of Halal Meat (A Detailed Article)


[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK




Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam, in this Q/A, covers the following points in great depth:


1) The first looks at the Islamic perspective and viewpoint with regards to meat-eating and slaughtering of animals,

2) The second deals with the conditions and rules pertaining to a valid slaughter in Shariah,

3) The third, in refutation of those who call for the meat sold in western supermarkets to be considered lawful (halal).

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Jewish and Muslim methods of slaughter Prioritise Animal Welfare



The head of the British Veterinary Association has said that religious slaughter methods need to change to prevent animal suffering. It is unfortunate that the BVA and other animal welfare organisations in the UK tend to view religious slaughter as incompatible with humaneness; quite the contrary is true – compassion and animal welfare stand at the centre of the entire process.


Shechita and zabiha are not words commonly known by the public, but to Jewish and Muslim communities they are synonymous with sincerely held, religiously mandated care for animals. They refer to the Jewish and Muslim humane methods of slaughter of animals for food, and the body of religious law in which they are contained talks not only about the last two seconds of an animal's life, but about its treatment from birth.


There is much difference between shechita and zabiha, but both quickly dispatch the animal by severing the structures at the front of the neck – the trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries and jugular veins. When carried out by a trained practitioner, the speed and precision of the incision ensures the lack of stimulation of the severed structures and results in the immediate loss of consciousness; blood flow to the brain is completely halted. In addition, blood empties rapidly from the brain.


Irreversible cessation of consciousness and insensibility to pain are achieved, providing the most effective stun. There is no delay between stun and subsequent death, so the animal cannot regain consciousness – as can happen with conventional slaughter methods.


Traditional British methods of stunning by use of a captive bolt, gassing or electrocution (by electrified pincers for larger animals, or a water bath with an electric current running through it for poultry) paralyse the animal, and it is unable to display outward signs of feeling pain. However, it is impossible to know whether the animal is feeling pain or not.


There is ample scientific evidence that religious slaughter is at least as humane as conventional mechanical slaughter. Research in the UK and the US, including by Dr Temple Grandin – one of the authorities on animal welfare – have supported this view. By contrast, many of the studies that suggest that religious slaughter causes unnecessary pain have been agenda-driven and methodologically flawed, stretching data in a distinctly unscientific fashion to unsupported conclusions.


It is remarkable therefore that religious slaughter can generate such a huge amount of publicity and media scaremongering when in fact the number of animals affected is extremely low. Halal and kosher meat are responsible for a fraction of the cattle slaughtered in the UK.


So even if one believes, despite the lack of scientific consensus, that religious slaughter is cruel, it is deeply troubling that the BVA has chosen to focus its attention on religious slaughter rather than other, far more pressing animal welfare issues.


For example, between 2009 and 2011 the campaign group Animal Aid filmed secretly and found evidence of unspeakable cruelty and illegal activity in eight of nine randomly chosenBritish slaughterhouses: animals were kicked, slapped, stamped on, and even burned with cigarettes. We are yet to hear of a campaign by the BVA to root out this kind of cruelty.


Similarly, the European Food Safety authority found in 2004 that the failure rate for the much-trumpeted penetrating captive bolt stunning in conventional mechanical slaughter may be as high as 6.6%, and up to 31% for non-penetrating captive bolt and electric stunning. This equates to millions of animals each year that experience incredible suffering. But the BVA has not mounted a campaign on this.


There will always be a discussion about what can be learned from scientific evidence, and the Jewish and Muslim communities stand ready to debate in any constructive forum. But let us not pretend that religious slaughter represents a key battleground for animal welfare in this country – to do so is disingenuous in the extreme.

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Methods endorsed by the Congress of the United States of America


One of the main legislations in regards to the permissibility of meat is that it must be slaughtered according to the mandates of the religion.  Forbidden is any type of animal if it dies of natural cause, strangulation, due to a violent blow, a headlong fall, by the goring of horns, and that which has been partially eaten by wild animals.  Rather, in order for meat to be made permissible to eat, it must be slaughtered by a cut through the neck, reaching through the trachea, esophagus, the jugular veins and carotid arteries, without severing the spinal cord.


This method is indeed the most humane method to slaughter an animal to make use of its meat.  This is also the only method endorsed by the congress of the United States of America, as mentioned in section 1901 and 1902 (b), Chapter 48, Title 7, in which is written the following:


The Congress finds that the use of humane methods in the slaughter of livestock prevents needless suffering; results in safer and better working conditions for persons engaged in the slaughtering industry; brings about improvement of products and economies in slaughtering operations; and produces other benefits for producers, processors, and consumers which tend to expedite an orderly flow of livestock and livestock products in interstate and foreign commerce.  It is therefore declared to be the policy of the United States that the slaughtering of livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter shall be carried out only by humane methods.


No method of slaughtering or handling in connection with slaughtering shall be deemed to comply with the public policy of the United States unless it is humane.  Either of the following two methods of slaughtering and handling are hereby found to be humane:


(a)  in the case of cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock, all animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut; or


(b)  by slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith that prescribes a method of slaughter whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument and handling in connection with such slaughtering.[1]


As can be seen above, this method of slaughtering ensures the least amount of pain is felt by the animal at the same time rendering the meat safe to eat.  The swift cutting of vessels of the neck disconnects the flow of blood to the nerves in the brain responsible for pain, and thus the animal does not feel pain.  The movements and withering that happen to the animal after the cut is made are not due to pain, but due to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles deficient in blood.  This movement is also essential in forcing the maximum amount of blood from the body, which is extremely important in order to purify the meat, as remaining blood acts as a medium for microorganisms, in addition to meat remaining fresher for a longer period of time.  Also crucial to this factor is the severance of the trachea, esophagus, and the jugular veins in conjunction with the carotid arteries, which cause a rapid gush of blood to flow from the system.  Severance of the spinal cord, however, may lead to cardiac arrest, causing the stagnation of blood in the blood vessels due to the damage of nerve fibers leading to the heart.



1] (http://assembler.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode07/usc_sec_07_00001901----000-.html)

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Regarding Stunning before Slaughter


According to the "Methods endorsed by the Congress of the United States of America", two methods of slaughtering and handling are  found to be humane:


Firstly, (b) being the method of slaughtering of the "Jewish or other religious faith",  whereby "the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument and handling in connection with such slaughtering". 


The second method, (a), involves stunning the animal before slaughter. Regarding stunning, which is held to be more humane, let us see what is involved.



Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK



Stunning the animal before it is actually slaughtered is a common practice in many western countries. It is claimed to be more comforting and causing less pain to the animal.


Pre-slaughter stunning was originally introduced to protect abattoir personnel, rather than the animals themselves. The idea was to immobilize the animal to facilitate killing procedures. However, the principle of stunning has now evolved to encompass the idea that animals should be rendered unconscious before they are slaughtered.

There are many methods used for stunning animals, just to mention a few:


The Captive Bolt Pistol

This stunning method is widely used for all farmed animals. There are two types of captive bolt pistol: penetrative and non-penetrative. Penetrative stunners drive a bolt into the skull and cause unconsciousness both through physical brain damage and the concussive blow to the skull. The bolt on a non-penetrative stunner is ‘mushroom-headed’ and impacts on the brain without entering the skull. Unconsciousness is caused by the concussive blow. After the animal is unconscious, it is slaughtered.


The bolt is described as ‘captive’ because it flies out of the barrel but remains attached to the pistol. The pistol is placed on the centre of the animal’s forehead and is either trigger-fired or fires automatically on contact with the animal’s head.



Pitching is carried out in the majority of cattle slaughterhouses. The practice involves inserting a wire or rod through the hole in the head made by the captive bolt. The rod is slid up and down to destroy the lower part of the brain and the spinal cord.


Electric head-only stunning (electric shock or current)

Electric head-only stunning with tongs is used to stun cattle, calves, sheep, goats, rabbits and ostriches. The operator places a pair of electric tongs on either side of the animal’s head and passes an electric current through the brain – supposedly causing a temporary loss of consciousness.


Waterbath stunning

The electric waterbath is widely used to stun chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. Birds are shackled upside down on a moving conveyor which carries them to an electrified waterbath into which their heads are supposed to be immersed. The shackles contact a bar which is connected to earth. The strength of the electrical current has risen in recent years – with the aim of ensuring that birds suffer a cardiac arrest and die when they enter the waterbath.


Gas stunning

An animal is stunned by exposing them to a mixture of carbon dioxide and air. This gas causes the animal to loose its consciousness, after which it is slaughtered.

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So how Humane is Stunning?


'Pre-slaughter stun less humane than shechita’

Jewish News



Prof. Rael Strous, a psychiatrist at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Be’er Ya’acov Mental Health Center, has just published an article on the subject in the journal Meat Science together with Bar-Ilan University researcher Dr. Ari Zivotofsky.

The researchers reached the conclusion that electric stunning of animals, often advocated as kinder than kosher slaughter, “is in fact cruel and barbaric,” as if one administered ECT without first giving patients sedation and/or general anesthesia.

The team studied ECT given to depressed patients – in which a strong electric shock is given under sedation and/or anesthesia to those who are not helped by conventional anti-depressive medication – as a comparison for the stunning of animals. This was unique research in which medical procedures used on humans were investigated to learn about the suffering of animals.

“Thus, introducing stunning, as we know from the experience in psychiatry on humans, defeats the objective of more humane slaughter,” they wrote. Animals that are inadequately stunned because of improperly positioned electrodes or other problems could suffer pain for a minute or more before losing consciousness, they said.

Strous said all leading Orthodox rabbinical arbiters around the world – except for a single rabbi in New Zealand – insist electrical stunning of animals before ritual slaughter is forbidden. In shechita, Jewish ritual slaughter of kosher animals, an extremely sharp knife is used to quickly sever a major blood vessel in the animal’s neck. This, the rabbis have long said, minimizes distress and pain to the animal as it loses a large amount of blood and consciousness very rapidly.


The article includes a description of ECT, in which electrodes are placed on the patient’s temples, after which a rapid burst of electric current of 70 to 170 volts is meted out. The mechanism by which the electricity “rearranges the brain cells” and provides relief to psychiatric disease is not fully understood but it is often very effective, at least for a while. It can even prevent psychiatric symptoms.

Without putting the patient “under,” ECT is considered a form of “medical torture.”

Patients who have been subjected to it without general anesthesia have reportedly suffered much more anxiety and trauma than they had before.

The authors show that “reversible electrical stunning,” very commonly employed in commercial abattoirs abroad, is very similar to ECT given without general anesthetic. Stunned animals behave as if they had an epileptic seizure, their bodies rigid with muscle contraction.

But it is reversible stunning, and they do not all lose consciousness.

The amount of voltages varies according to the type of animal, techniques used and the individual creature’s size and behavior. The animals going to slaughter can thus regain consciousness and then face the knife that will kill them.

Stunning a chicken, they write, is more problematic than in cows, sheep or other animals.

A common stunning method for poultry is to give them an “electrical water bath through the birds to the metal shackle.”

Every component must be adjusted perfectly to ensure a proper stun. There has to be a solid electrical ground, water height must perfectly match the bird size, and there must be some form of isolation at the beginning to pressure pre-stun electrical shocks.

In practice, the authors write, these conditions are often not met. The stunning process can also cause blood blemishes on the meat, broken bones and painful muscle contractions in the birds, which can still sense what is happening.




Does the Animal Feel Pain in These Methods (i.e the different methods of stunning)?

Studies have shown that stunning the animal with the mentioned techniques put the animal through unnecessary pain. Concerning CBP, the study at the German University showed the following result for stunned animals:


1. The animals were apparently unconscious soon after stunning.

2. EEG showed severe pain immediately after stunning (due to the stunning).

3. The hearts of the animal stunned by CBP stopped beating earlier as compared to those of the animals slaughtered according to the Halal method resulting in the retention of more blood in the meat. This in turn is unhygienic for the consumer.


* Although the animals were rendered unconscious, they felt severe pain from the stunning, a factor not present in the Islamic manner.


In order to be effective, CBP stunning must be performed by highly trained personnel, and specific cartridge strengths must be used. If this is not the case, or if the pistol is not positioned correctly, the animal will have to endure the pain of being shot incorrectly, and then will have to face the pain of being shot again, or the claimed pain (although not true) of being knifed while conscious. If the animal were to have been slaughtered without CBP, there would have been none or minimal pain felt by the animal.


In a 1996 report, the Scientific Committee of the European Commission said that, “In 5 to 10% of cattle, captive bolt stunning is not applied correctly,” which according to VIVA (Vegetarian International Voice for Animals), translates to 230,000 cattle in the UK alone. FAWC (Farm Animal Welfare association) reported, “In the course of our slaughterhouse visits, we have frequently examined carcass heads to check the site of bolt penetration. In our view, there were far too many cases where penetration had not been at or near the recommended position and also evidence of a considerable number of double shots (i.e. indicating that the first shot had missed its proper target).”


The same may be said for electric head-only stunning. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) says

There is increasing scientific evidence that some animals that are stunned electrically using tongs regain consciousness before they die from loss of blood.” The reasons behind this are either an inefficient electric current being passed through the animals’ brain during stunning or the animals begin to regain consciousness if the time interval between stunning and sticking exceeds a period of 20 seconds.


VIVA explains this saying that the stun caused by the electric head-only technique lasts between 20 and 40 seconds whereas the interval between stunning and knifing is as high as 70 seconds for sheep. This means that there are around 5 million sheep that regain consciousness after being electrically stunned before they die of blood loss.


Research done at Bristol University has also shown that after an electric stun, sheep may not be able to feel pain; they do, however, experience periods of full awareness. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the loss of consciousness is immediate, and some people, like neurophysiologist Dr. Harold Hilman, believe that stunning is extremely painful, pointing out that the electrocution of prisoners is used as a torture method in some countries. The animals cannot express this pain by crying out or by moving since the massive electric current paralyzes them.


Inadequate stunning also occurs in water bath stunning, especially with ducks and geese, as they tend to raise their heads when entering the water bath and their heads are therefore not fully immersed in the water. Another problem with this method is that, although the aim of this method is to induce cardiac arrest, “many birds are improperly stunned and recover consciousness before slaughter,” according to the RSPCA. This is also the case for sticking, as animals may regain consciousness prior to death.
The pain felt by any living being through suffocation, as in the case of gassing, is clear to any person and need not be detailed.



What can be observed is that although these methods are supposedly meant to reduce pain, the result is that the animal actually undergoes more pain, both from the initial stunning and from the following actions if stunning is performed inadequately. Again, causing unnecessary pain to animals is prohibited in Islam.





Animal Aid Report

Between January and June 2009, Animal Aid secretly filmed in three randomly chosen British slaughterhouses with shocking results.


Report: slaughterreport.pdf




There is evidence from human beings that electrical stimulation is painful

Electric Stunned.pdf



Is Stunning Animals really Humane?

By Aisha EI-Awady

This article is for the most part a summary of a report entitled, ‘Sentenced to Death’ by Rebecca Smith and released by VIVA.


Is Stunning Humane.pdf



Stunning Issues


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On the Permissibility of Stunning


Fatwa of Mufti of Darul ’Uloom Karach,

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani on Stunning animals before or after slaughter:


Dim 15 juin 2008, 22h 11min 57s

Assalamu alaikum,


Thank you for your email. In fact, there are two different issues that should not be confused with each other.  One question is to identify the correct way of slaughtering an animal according to Sunnah and Shariah law.  Answer to this question is that the correct way according to Sunnah and Shariah is to cut the veins of throat with a sharp knife and reciting Allah's name while doing so, without stunning before or after slaughter.  Stunning an animal either before or after cutting its throat is against the proper way prescribed by Shariah according to Sunnah.


The second question is whether or not the meat of an animal will be permissible to eat, if it is stunned before or after its slaughter. Answer to this question is that it will not be halal if it has died because of stunning and not because of cutting throat and the blood flowing from its veins.  However, if its death is caused by the blood flowing from its veins not caused by stunning, eating its meat will not be held impermissible, although the act of stunning, either before or after the slaughter, is not permissible.  This is the correct connotation of our previous fatwa about stunning after slaughter.  I think this will explain the Shariah position, and Allah knows best.



Muhammad Taqi Usmani




Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK

From an Islamic perspective, two main questions arise here:


1) Is using the method of stunning permissible?

2) Will the animal be considered lawful (halal) if it was slaughtered according to the rulings of Shariah after being stunned?


As far as the answer to the first question is concerned, this depends on whether stunning the animal reduces the pain or causes more unnecessary pain.


The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:


“Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill (an animal), kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” (Sahih Muslim)

Some of the methods used to stun animals are indeed very painful and as a result have been banned in many countries, like the method of pitching, for example. Therefore, such methods will indeed be impermissible according to Shariah.


As far as the other methods of stunning are concerned, although experts claim that they minimize the suffering of the animal, but this can not be said for certain. An electric current or a bolt pistol does cause pain to the animal, whereas gas stunning may cause severe breathing difficulties.


However, if it is ascertained that the claim of the experts is correct, in that stunning does minimize the suffering of the animal, and also the animal does not die prior to the actual slaughtering, then it would be permissible to use the method of stunning, otherwise impermissible, but the chances for this are very slim.


The second question is: what is the ruling regarding an animal that was stunned prior to being slaughtered?

The answer to this depends on whether stunning causes the animal to die. Animal experts claim that it does not cause the animal to die; rather it only causes it to lose its consciousness, thus not feel the pain of the slaughter.


This, however, can not be said for certain, as many a time the animal does perish as a direct result of the stun. Especially with chicken, it is very likely that the animal dies as a result of the electric shock. Some experts are of the view that the stunned animal remains alive only for a few minutes, after which it dies.


As a result, no such ruling can be giver for certain. However, there is no doubt in the fact that, if the animal was to die prior to the actual Islamic slaughter taking place or there is a fear of it dying, then it would be unlawful (haram) to consume its meat.


As the act of stunning renders the animal doubtful, one must avoid consuming the meat of animals that are stunned. It is known that the Jews abstain from consuming stunned animals, thus a Muslim should be more precautious in what he eats. However, if it is determined in a particular animal that it did not die prior to being slaughtered, then it would be Halal. This of course, is very difficult to determine whilst buying from meat shops, thus one should avoid it totally.


If you are forced to stun the animal by law, then it must be determined that the animal is still alive at the time of actual slaughter. This must be assured with each animal especially chickens, for they may die by the stun due to them being weak.


And Allah Knows Best





In the aforementioned scenario the Islamic viewpoint is and has always been that it is not permissible to stun an animal, as it is a cause of greater grief and pain for the animal and against the animal right's principles of Islam. Furthermore, if the animal were to die as a result of stunning then its consumption for a Muslim will also be Haram (impermissible). Statistically speaking, it is highly unlikely for the animal to escape death, particularly the smaller species.


Thus, as a leading Islamic institute in Britain we support this cause of exemption for stunning headed by UK Halal Corporation on behalf of Muslims in Britain and hope it would be resolved in the preferred manner.


Department of Islamic Jurisprudence

Darul Uloom al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah

Bury, UK




By Mufti Shabbir Ahmad

Darul Uloom Bury

Stunning Fatwa.pdf




By Mufti Muhammad Zubair Butt

Chickens and Stunning.pdf

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The legislations of the religion come from a Divine source, the Creator of all that exist, One Whose knowledge of His creation is infinite.  This fact necessitates that all things mandated by God in the religion are done so from this Divine Knowledge, and therefore must be ultimate in all ways. 


Analyzing the legislations mandated and recommended in the religion of Islam will definitely come to show that indeed they are the best and most suitable to any given circumstance, and that they have a common denominator, the maximization of benefits and reduction of harm. 


As some people classify the Islamic method of slaughter to be cruelty to animals, the reality shows facts quite the opposite.  Accusations of animal cruelty should very rightly be focused on those who do not use the Islamic way of slaughtering, but prefer to use those methods which cause pain and agony to the animal and could also very well cause harm to those consuming the meat

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