My week on Twitter

While not being sure that non-stun slaughter is superior or inferior to stun slaughter, I am certain the difference is marginal. John Blackwell, the British Veterinary Association’s incoming president, told The Times that he wanted non-stun slaughter to go. Something wasn’t right.

I was aware that stunning is not foolproof so searched the world wide web for data on failed first stuns. Failed first stuns can cause death and animals are or should be removed from the food chain. Dead animals do not bleed properly. These animals die needlessly. Other failed stuns do not knock animals out. They remain conscious with a stonking headache and will be restunned. This is clearly inhumane and is needless suffering.

How often does this occur?

I have seen figures of between 6% and 31%. I do not know what these figures mean but they are significant. Even one in one hundred (1in100) is significant. Non-stun slaughter is consistant. Deaths are rare and rapid unconsciousness is assured. Cutting the major blood vessels in the neck in one movement causes a catastrophic fall in blood pressure. There can be no awareness of pain in other than in the lowest level of unconsciousness/coma but how long does even a large animal remain in that state?

The problem for me is that neither the British Veterinary Association (@BritishVets) nor the RSPCA (@RSPCA_Official) hold data on failed first stuns. There is an assumption that the technology – a stun gun is technology – must be superior. This is a common failing in life sciences – especially in human medicine (the NHS).

I know that John Blackwell’s predecessor was challenged off-air after his Channel 5 appearance with Mohammed Ansar (@MoAnsar). He did not deny that there was an issue. The RSPCA asked to do its research. I will do so but at a cost to ensure they accept ownership of the conflicting data.

Needless to say John Blackwell provoked the inevitable anti-religious response from secularists who have no connection with their food production – it’s messy.

I had to throw my weight behind the no-stun advocates. I have been researching shechita (kosher) and dhabiha (halal) rules. They cover all aspects of animal welfare before slaughter and good hygiene after slaughter. It simply doesn’t make sense to knowingly make an animal suffer at death. On the contrary anyone trying to understand halal will know this.

I had to challenge the ban no-stun brigade. Most people just were closed to discussion but some were offensive. I know where Twitter’s ‘block’ button is.

I am not Muslim but apparently do a convincing job. Apparently I “get halal” and know more than “most Muslims”. Needless to say I have had a little experience of the “Islamophobia” denied by the “establishment” – that’s the church, the press, the BBC, even parliament. Coincidentally, a west country MP used a House of Commons debate on badger culling to make a gratuitous pop at Jews and Muslims, who support non-stun slaughter.

I am acutely aware of the nature of Islamophobia. It presents in many forms. It does not have to be hate and often arises from ignorance. In the context of slaughter it’s a failure to understand what’s involved. I learned something some livestock farmers stop caring for their animals when they leave the farm. In days past they may well have slaughtered their own animals on-farm. Now slaughter is out of sight and out of mind. The result is disinformation.

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