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Increased demand for Halal meat raises welfare issues

News Section Icon Published 21/09/2009

The Guardian's article, Halal food no longer a minority taste, by Huma Qureshi and Rebecca Smithers (published on 19.09.09) raises the issue of Halal slaughter methods in today's more welfare-conscious society.

Compassion in World Farming is pleased that the Muslim community is increasingly looking at organic meat for the celebration of their religious festivities. However, it is misleading to think that Halal means high welfare.

Much of Halal slaughter involves animals' throats being cut while they are fully conscious. Compassion in World Farming is opposed to such practice both because of the severe pain experienced at throat cutting by unstunned animals and because there is a prolonged period between throat cutting and loss of brain responsiveness during which animals can suffer extreme pain and distress. This view is supported by the conclusions of the Farm Animal Welfare Council and the European Food Safety Authority's Animal Health and Welfare Panel.

Whilst we value religious freedom, we do not believe this should extend to practices which inflict suffering on animals.

Compassion in World Farming has been working with leading animal welfare academics and the Islamic community regarding the slaughter of animals for Halal meat and is pleased to see that many certification bodies in the UK allow pre-stunning, which still complies with religious rules relating to Halal slaughter, and supports Islamic teaching which respects all animals as part of creation.

Read Compassion in World Farming's letter ( 25.27KB) in response to the article.


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