Home > Animal Rights > Fighting against “religious slaughter” is not racist

Fighting against “religious slaughter” is not racist

It isn’t racist to speak out against cruelty

Over the past fortnight the issue of ritual slaughter and stunning has been top of the news agenda across the UK.

Scotland for Animals has been campaigning for a complete end to slaughter without fully effective stunning for several years. This campaign has met serious resistance not only from governments but from other animal organisations desperate not to, in what one particular group stated, to “open a can of worms”.

Many animal rights/ welfare organisations and the British Veterinary Association have been falling over themselves to get media airtime attempting to calm the public and assure us that the welfare problems associated to ritual slaughter are overstated.

Below we would like to address some of the claims these organisations have made and give you the facts behind the spin.

The claims

“Electro immobilisation is not an approved method during slaughter and is not used whether the slaughter taking place is for religious purposes or not.”

“Islamic teachings require that animals are treated with compassion and respect so for them to use electro immobilisation would completely go against their beliefs.”

“The very fact that up to 90% of British Halal slaughter is now pre stunned is because many religious leaders accepted that pre stunning does not cause injury and follows their teachings of a painless death.”

“most halal meat comes from animals stunned in exactly the same way as ‘conventional’ slaughter.”

The facts

The biggest halal certification body in the UK, the Halal Food Authority, states that:

“HFA does not encourage or support the stunning of animals…..However, if required, the birds or animals are permitted to be immobilised temporarily to ease out the process of halal slaughter and also reduce the incidence of flapping of the wings of birds which may result in haemorrhage and poor white meat (poultry) quality”

HFA has stated on record that animals:

“must not be anaesthetised, stunned to be killed or otherwise rendered wholly insensible prior to slaughter. It must be conscious and alive when it is slaughtered.”


“Electric stun can be controlled like a dimmer switch on the wall for the immobilisation of the birds and the animals.”

Stunning is legally defined in UK as a procedure that causes immediate unconsciousness and this unconsciousness lasts until the point of death. If animals are conscious when they’re slaughtered, as demanded by HFA, they’re not stunned.

In the cases where minuscule amperage ‘stunning’ might indeed knock an animal unconscious the level is so low that it comes round very quickly. The likelihood of animals regaining consciousness before they die is too great to make this method credible.

The claims

“over 80% of Halal slaughter in the UK is pre-stunned.”

“around 88% of halal slaughter in the UK is prestunned (sic).”

“at least 90% of animal slaughtered for halal meat are stunned “

The facts

The claims rest on a Food Standards Agency survey from 2011 where abattoir vets (OV’s) were asked to state what slaughter methods were being used in their posting.

This is the same abattoir vets which will rarely if ever intervene or file reports when the type of brutality and cruelty seen in numerous undercover investigations occurs.

Now animal groups who know the slaughter industry’s a free for all are asking you to trust these vets on their word.

We also feel that this data is being manipulated for political reasons. The Food Standards Agency stopped collecting proper data on unstunned slaughter in 2003, they knew the situation was getting out of control and it’s widely suspected the FSA didn’t want the public to know how widespread this slaughter was becoming.

The survey also only covered one week, FSA has admitted it hasn’t collected regular, aggregated data on the number of animals being slaughtered without stunning in UK but rather gathered a very limited snapshot of what was according to these vets over 7 set days.

The meat industry itself further states that it suspects owners of abattoirs which carry out slaughter without stunning avoid admitting this. As the Food Standards Agency has already made clear that it’s staff can’t supervise slaughter properly because of intimidation by abattoir staff there’s a very good chance these vets will be saying exactly what they’re told to say.

The claims

Animal rights/ welfare organisations have been quoted alleging that:

“The uproar over the labelling of halal meat has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with prejudice.”

“This latest outbreak of fury bears all the hallmarks of ignorance, prejudice and hypocrisy.”

“the public furore and hand-wringing over the labelling of halal meat is categorically not rooted in concern for animal welfare. Much of the noise springs from ‘ignorance at best, and both prejudice and hypocrisy at worst”

The BVA allege labelling of halal meat “could fuel prejudice”

The facts

Because you’re against deliberately cruel slaughter methods DOES NOT make you ignorant, prejudiced, a racist or any other smears that these groups are firing at you. Ask the many Muslims and Jews who support effective stunning.

Scotland for Animals are against halal and kosher meat which results from unstunned slaughter. And we are sick to death of the words “racist” and “prejudiced” being used against us, our supporters and other opponents of this type of slaughter.

These people never seem to have an explanation as to why many, many Jews and Muslims are also against this cruelty. It’s an insult to us all.

Scotland for Animals were out publicising the issue years ago when other groups were hiding behind the curtains. Now people are asking why they haven’t acted instead of doing their jobs they’re claiming you, us and everybody else who are against legalised cruelty are the bad guys rather than the ones actually carrying out the abuse.

This is a horrific death.  If you are sickened by this cruelty and sick of being branded a racist because you speak up against it – join us.

Post a selfie of yourself. Write the words “Not Racist! Just against unstunned slaughter!” Write it on a placard, on your hands, on your face, in lipstick – just get the message out there.

Spread the word, tag us, share this posting.   #ScotForAnimals #notracistagainstunstunnedslaughter

Once and for all. Stay strong. 




  1. May 22, 2014 at 00:01

    The British Veterinary Association claims that in the UK there is a negligible rate of mis-stuns in secular slaughter ritual. The data they simply are not credible. Why?

    There no reliable recent mis-stun data in any EU country. Indeed the European Food Standards Agency met only in December last year to design a standard tool for measuring the rate of mis-stuns.

    In America an “acceptable” rate of mis-stuns is in the order of 5% or 1 animal in every 20. If mis-stuns are noticed animals must be re-stunned. If mis-stuns are not noticed and animals are conscious the trauma they will experience will be horrendous. Fortunately this does happen often and welfare at slaughter regulations require systems to systematically check a number of, but not all, animals for signs of consciousness that could be missed. Why do this if stunning was perfect?

    One thing needs to be cleared up stunning was introduced as a health and safety matter. The halal issue is now front and centre because of our increasing awareness of halal “marketing”. The Christian church tends to teach, probably through genuine ignorance, that Islam is not a co-religion as we recognise Judaism and Christianity as co-religions. Islamic practices are therefore alien. Because we believe Muslims are alien it follows that we assume their practices are cruel and/or barbaric.

    What we have today is a debate rooted in religion that assumes that Muslim slaughter practice is bad. There is also a hidden secular debate looking at the inhumanity of stun slaughter. This is the elephant in the room. Secular slaughter, even “organic” slaughter, is not brilliant.

    The truth is that when performed correctly by a proficient slaughter technician (Jewish shochet train for seven years.) non-stun slaughter has to be quick and pain-free. It cannot be otherwise – when it done properly. Why?

    Stay with me but when you faint there is a catastrophic drop in blood pressure in the brain. You become unconscious very quickly. When the four major blood vessels in the neck are cut quickly and correctly in one motion there is an immediate and irrecoverable drop in blood pressure.

    There is no pain. The animal should not see the knife. Although it may feel the contact with the knife there is enough delay between the contact and cut before any “pain” will be sensed but the animal will already be unconscious or won’t have time to register any pain. The animal may convulse but if you anyone suffering with epilepsy they are not aware of what’s happening, because they are unconscious. Stunning prevents fitting and danger to technicians.

    So-called cruel and barbaric religious slaughter is humane. It is non-inferior. It’s reproducible. Secular stunning rituals potentially fail in up to 1 in 20 cases. A good failure may be around 1 in 100. Translating that to human surgery, if you were told that there is 1% chance that your anaesthetic may not work you would reason to be worried.

  2. narhvalur
  3. May 22, 2014 at 00:55

    Reblogged this on Political Pip Spit or Swallow its up to You and commented:
    The most effective way to stop debate is to call one half of the debate racist. It is a disgrace that people who demand that all animals should be stunned before they are killed. There are laws against cruelty to animals the govt should make sure the laws are enforced regardless of the religion of the perpetrators of crimes against animals.

    • May 22, 2014 at 03:41

      In its trust sense halal means “high welfare status” akin to organic. Halal governs every step from farm to fork.

      Is all halal meat truly been reared and processed in a true halal manner? I don’t know and have no evidence to say.

      Is all non-halal meat truly been reared and processed in a wholy humane manner? I don’t know and have no evidence to say but one hears stories. The probability is that with long journeys to distant slaughterhouses and intensive high production facilities journeys and pre-slaughter lairage will not be great experiences – at least cases.

      Time is money.

      The reality is that today’s British Secularists and Christians have been forced reflect on their own much less than humane slaughter rituals.

      For Muslims slaughter should be a personal and solemn occasion. It’s spritual and Christians have lost this connection. Stunning practices have found wanting because no one really knows how poor practices are.

      Defra and the FSA have been burying their heads in the sand, literally, by deliberately not collecting data in an on going and systematic way that can be audited robustly.


      • May 22, 2014 at 07:24

        It really makes little difference: all animals should be reared and treated as humanely as possible and stunned before slaughter. If there are religious objections to that then the objectors should become vegetarian.

      • May 22, 2014 at 07:41

        And if is the very best stunning procedure is only 99% successful but good non-stun practice is 100% which is most humane?

        I do not have a fixed view but I know with reasonable certainty that stunning IS NOT a proven technique. There is probably no choice in large processing plants but to stun but be clear stunning is a commercial expedient NOT a welfare requirement.

        If you want humanely slaughtered meat you probably have to buy from the family butcher who has short transparent supply chains.

  4. May 22, 2014 at 03:11

    Reblogged this on The Old Brewer's Blog and commented:
    I have reblogged with my comments. Both pieces long. Both the original and the response obviously claim objectivity and truth. The are two sides of the same debate.

  5. Kev
    May 22, 2014 at 03:52

    So true, but sad…because racism is used as a “cheap shot” being it’s the easiest way to retaliate when someone stands up to them.

  6. narhvalur
    May 22, 2014 at 10:11

    It’s pure bullshit that halal and Jewish slaughter is humane. There have been so much scientific research in this issue that all say that religious slaughter is cruel.

    • May 22, 2014 at 10:16

      very true. Its a shame that some bring in racism when there is no race issue, purely animal cruelty issues.

      • narhvalur
        May 22, 2014 at 10:21

        I’m very far from being a communist , but Lenin was right stating that religion is poison for the people!

        As I have studied medicine at the Uni to be a physician , I’m very well informed re the issue here on cruelty and time to Death.

      • narhvalur
        May 22, 2014 at 10:34

        If the pro ritual slaughter persons had done littlemedical scientific research, they would have found out that the carotid arteies are protected by a sheet , that’s why it’s almost impossible to commit suicide by throat cutting.

        To cut the carotid arteries you must cut very severly and deeply.

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