FAWC prefers bolt to head rather
than knife to throat

The British Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), which advises the government on how to avoid cruelty to livestock, says the way halal meat is produced causes severe suffering to animals.
 
Halal slaughter is carried out with a single swift cut to the throat, rather than the western method of an electric bolt into the head.
 
'Clearly suffering'
 
FAWC said it wants an end to the exemption currently allowed for halal meat from the legal requirement to stun animals first.

It says cattle can take up to two minutes to bleed to death - amounting to an abuse of the animal's rights.

Calling for all livestock to be stunned, council chairwoman Dr Judy MacArthur Clark said: "The rendering of unconsciousness is a very immediate thing that happens."

Clark believes that electrocuted animals suffer "far far less" because the period of time over which they die is shorter.

Science disagrees

However, experiments carried out in Germany seem to suggest the exact opposite of the FAWC claim.

Professor Schultz and Dr Hazim of the Hanover University, using an electroencephalograph (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor pain and stress, concluded last month that halal slaughter is in fact more ‘humane’ than bolt stunning.

Schultz believes halal slaughtered animals become unconscious within three seconds as a result of a large blood loss to the brain, while the EEG monitored no pain whatsoever after six seconds.

The loss of blood, he said, also leads to more hygienic meat.

Hazim also confirmed that in electrocuted animals the EEG showed severe pain immediately after stunning.

Hearts of stunned animals also stopped beating much earlier, he added, resulting in the retention of more blood in the meat. This in turn is unhygienic for the consumer.

The FAWC gave similar advice to the government in the 1980s, but the advisory's opinion was not made into law.