Traditional Halal Slaughter From Scientific Perspectives
Keywords:halal slaughter, animal welfare, bleeding, meat quality
Halal slaughtering process is the killing and butchering of non-forbidden animals for food. According to Islamic tradition, the conventional method used to slaughter the animal involves cutting the large arteries in the neck along with the esophagus and trachea with one swipe of non-serrated blade. Muslims argue it provides a relatively painless death and helps to effectively drain blood from the animal. Scientifically, the main purpose of effective and humane slaughtering is to remove the flowing blood as quickly as possible and stop the delivery of oxygen to the brain. Blood is suitable for microbial growth environment. Inadequate bleeding could cause more blood to be retained in the meat. Consequently, this would lead to multiplication of spoilage microorganisms and acts as a carrier for food borne pathogens. The main concern of some veterinary and animal rights groups is that halal slaughter without stunning may delay the commencement of unconsciousness and this could result in suffering from stress and pain. Recently, it has been suggested that performing the cut at the first cervical vertebra compared to the conventional cut at the second or fourth cervical vertebra will almost eliminate false aneurysm development and this will reduce subsequent distress. It is possible that when religious slaughter is done faithfully and properly, the welfare of the slaughtered animal is not compromised, even if this cannot be verified scientifically using currently available instruments.