Our conception of Halal (third part)
Treatment of animals during transportation and in the abattoirs
“Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praises all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise. And Allah knows well all that they do.” Quran (24:41)
One day the Prophet (pbuh) passed before a man who, with his foot on a sheep’s head, was sharpening the blade of his knife while the animal was watching him. The Prophet then told him: “Do you want to kill it twice? Why did you not sharpen the knife before throwing it on the ground?” (Al-Haakim)
Islamic references regulating our relationship with animals abound and show that our duty to uphold equity must extend to all living beings. Thus the authorisation to kill certain animals is a derogation of this duty, and is strictly conditioned by the need to feed oneself.
AVS has neither the aim nor the means to act on all fronts and can not take responsibility for the breeding and the transportation of animals. However, we are aware that it is essential to promote a global ethic of production and consumption informed by Quranic teachings, that believes the respect of workers, animals and the environment is paramount. It is for this reason that AVS supports all the Muslim entrepreneurs who through their various projects allow fellow Muslims to consume halal meat that has been produced ethically and mindful of the environment.
Below we have drawn up a list of practices and recommendations concerning the treatment of animals during transportation, and in slaughterhouses, which is based on 25 years of know how.
- Excessive overcrowding of animals in trucks, trains and boats should be strictly prohibited. Moreover, the concerned stakeholders should ensure that within the spaces where animals are transported, the equipment designed to improve ventilation and to regulate temperature is fully functional.
- Drink and food should be provided to animals especially during long journeys.
- The animals are often abused during loading and unloading. Appropriate training should therefore be provided to the relevant staff in order to stamp out any harmful practices.
- Once they arrive at the slaughterhouse the animals must be treated with dignity and must be spared the spectacle of the killing of other animals for as long as it is possible.
- AVS also recommends an increased number of inspections to ensure that all animal carriers have an accreditation issued by the appropriate government department, which guarantees that staff are fully trained.
- Restraint can have a significant impact on the stress level of the animals before but also during slaughter since the quality of the restraining tools can influence the quality of the sticking.
- It is important to first ensure the proper treatment of the animals when loading them inside the restraining box to minimize stress and pain. As such, the staff concerned must be trained in pre and post sticking techniques to mitigate the risk of mistakes, which can cause stress, pain, but also accidents.
- The restraining tool used must always be designed in a way that avoids causing pain to the animal before and during the slaughter. For example, the edges of the box should be rounded and the floor should not be slippery to limit the risk of falling. Animals should not be slaughtered in restraining boxes that are unsuitable for their size, as still too often happens.
During and after the sticking
- Care must be taken not to rush the animal during the different stages. Conversely when the animal is settled in the box, the sticking must be carried out fairly swiftly.
- AVS considers that manual sticking without stunning is the most humane way to kill an animal. The process requires the slaughterman to take his/her time and to reject – by pronouncing the word « bismillah » – the trivialisation of the act of slaughter.
- The slaughterman, who must have undergone adequate and full training, must bleed the animal as soon as it is restrained in its box and must make sure to cut the neck of the animal by cutting the two carotid arteries and the jugular veins without touching the bone of the spine with his knife.
- In order to carried out the sticking in one movement and therefore one cut (without sawing), the slaughterman must ensure that his knife is razor-sharp. The knife should also be adapted to the size of the animal’s neck.
- The slaughterman or an inspector must ensure that the animal has been properly sacrificed, while avoiding as much as possible (unless absolutely necessary) any contact with the wound until the animal is completely unconscious.
- Animals should not be released from their restraints until succumbing to full loss of consciousness.
- Animals should not be handled until they are completely unconscious. It is strictly forbidden to start butchering the animal or removing its limbs before it has died.
 Sticking refers to the cutting of the animal’s throat.
Read first part: http://avs.fr/english/2017/10/our-conception-of-halal-first-part/
Read second part: http://avs.fr/english/2017/10/our-conception-of-halal-second-part/