Author Topic: Should animals be stunned before slaughter? BBC News 30.11.2011  (Read 2308 times)

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Should animals be stunned before slaughter? BBC News 30.11.2011
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 08:37:14 AM »
Should animals be stunned before slaughter?
By Raffi Berg BBC News, Amsterdam
The slaughter of conscious animals was widely abandoned in the 20th Century and is now practised mainly in the Jewish and Muslim communities. Consumers increasingly expect animals to be stunned before death - but would banning other slaughter methods be an unacceptable violation of religious rights?

The sound of pistons and mechanics fills the air as the last calf of the day steps into a holding box.

A device the size of a hand-held drill is brought to the animal's head, a trigger pulled and a four-inch bolt shot into its brain, causing it instantly to collapse. The unconscious calf is hoisted upside down and slaughtered seconds later with a massive cut to its throat, showering the floor with a torrent of crimson blood.

"Killing animals is never friendly," says Paul Meeuwissen, director of the Vitelco abattoir in the central town of s'-Hertogenbosch, "but what we do is done in the most animal-friendly way possible."

The plant - the second-biggest veal abattoir in Europe - has used stunning on all its calves - some 300,000 a year - since 2008. Before then it performed some religious slaughter without stunning for the Jewish and Muslim communities, but changing public attitudes towards animal welfare forced a rethink.

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe took the position in 2002 that "the practice of slaughtering animals without prior stunning is unacceptable under any circumstances", and the issue has gradually become more central for animal welfare campaigners, and for politicians.

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