Halaal Slaughter of Animals – Humane or Inhumane?

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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 widespread 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 entire 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 identical 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 might run against what they wish to believe in, and for the benefit of the growing number of Muslims who are unaware of the humaneness inherent in the ancient Islamic method of slaughter.

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 not 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 by many Muslims today in the name of modernisation and mass-commercialisation. 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.

(9) 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 anti-thesis 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 and set in stone 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, mass-commercialisation, or any other philosophy antithetical to the spirit of Islam, renders the end-product completely alien to Islamic teachings.

(Checked and approved by Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai)

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