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Ritual Slaughter – Humane or not?

This is a cross-post by Sci-Lo  Green

News broke earlier this week regarding the Bowood Lamb abattoir in Thirsk, North Yorkshire. It was a report of reprehensible treatment of the animals in the act of, and shortly before, their slaughter.

This animal cruelty is abhorrent. We should be aiming for the strictest of standards to be upheld in all abattoirs. If I had to guess, I’d say this isn’t an isolated incident and maltreatment occurs at other abattoirs in the UK. The risk of this grows as people who work in the abattoirs become desensitised to the type of unpleasant work they are performing.

The reporting of these incidents can sometimes be troublesome. It can be used to demonise Muslims and Jews and assert that this appalling behaviour can only happen in the abattoirs dedicated to ritual slaughter. This is clearly wrong.

It also muddies the ethical issue. The ethical question as I see it can be framed as this:

1. Are halal / kosher slaughter methods more humane than the ‘secular’ standard?

2. If they are not, should Muslims / Jews have the right not to adopt the ‘secular’ standard, thus understanding that the methods are sub-optimal for animal welfare?

The first question is one that is answered through science. It is measurable and demonstrable which is more humane (once we’ve defined ‘humane’).

The second is an ethical question involving the relative rights of humans and animals, and isn’t so clear.

I will put forward arguments for ‘No’ answers for both of the questions above.

Do read the rest of Sci-Lo Green’s post here

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