The experts on humane slaughter are actually the people at the National Secular Society. They apply some of the best science and impartial thinking in their methodology. They are open minded. The listen to all views. They listen, that us, until anything vaguely religious crops up. This is the point at which barriers are erected instantaneously.
These experts at the NSS are quick to accuse Jews and Muslims of living in the past. They accuse Jews and Muslims of ignoring science while themselves ignoring the history of their Secular stun “rituals”. Secularists assume with religious zeal that slaughter with stunning is superior.
How much of this science, however, is purely emotional? To what extent Secularists assume superior rituals because they don’t have to contemplate the thought of a man doing the actual deed. Their rituals distance man from the final act. Their rituals include measures to minimise the amount of blood actually seen by observers and the sight of the machine killing animal after animal – as if they were mere commodities. Secular slaughter rituals put distance between the man and the act of killing.
Why do Secularists stun their animals before slaughter? It was not always thus. Their religion is in fact relatively new yet they have lost touch with its genesis within a lifetime. In my early childhood, or not long before it, many farmers slaughtered and butchered their own animals to take to market in nearby towns. My father was so trained. I gather that he didn’t stun small animals. After WWII My father bought a small holding attached to a village shop. I guess the land was just sufficient to keep enough cows for a milkround. I barely remember the cows because he switched to keeping pigs for bacon. These were sent away for slaughter.
In my lifetime farmers killed their animals for their own consumption (not for sale). My father visited his brothers’ farms to kill the odd sheep or pig. Cousins say he didn’t stun and animals drifted or slipped away. This would be expected. A catastrophic drop in cerebral blood pressure causes rapid unconsciousness. If a very sharp knife is used animals don’t flinch, according to Dr Temple Grandin, a foremost expert on slaughterhouse welfare. Bleeding to death is not painful. On the contrary, as one Tweeter recently put it, “it’s rather poetic”. Humans reporting near death experiences invariably report a pleasant experience – despite the trauma of resuscitation, which can be violent enough to break ribs. This not an exact equivalent analogy but cardiac arrests cause a catastrophic loss of cerebral blood pressure and unconsciousness.
So why do we stun?
We stun because animals for human consumption are now slaughtered at abattoirs where meat inspection, a matter of public health and hygiene, can the better be supervised and regulated. Slaughterhouses compromise welfare big time. Stunning provides a number of advantages. It allows for higher line speeds and given that non-stun slaughter requires a highly skilled artisan it makes way for mechanised slaughter. Above all stunning helps to reduce the serious inhumanity of the whole process – especially in the final moments.
Slaughter without stunning requires a human to effect the deed. Few people can imagine doing this themselves. I guess most us would squirm at the thought of killing our own animals to eat in a survival situation. It’s abhorent. There is also a presumption of pain and distress because of the sight of blood but what pain there may be will be transient and the animal will become lightheaded before becoming unconsciousness. Of much greater distress to animals will be the smell of death as they queue to be led to the stun pens.
I saw a video recently. It showed so-called humane slaughter. All I saw was the stun, an animal collapsing, presumed to be unconscious, and being unceremoniously tipped onto the slaughterhouse floor. He probably was unconscious but there is a remote possibility that it wasn’t. We just don’t know how animals suffer. There was no blood therefore the ritual is humane.
It that not the real issue here. Secular slaughter ritual “sort of” sanitises the slaughter process. We aren’t shown the actual slaughter. We rarely are. It’s more humane for the observer not to see the “bloody” part of the ritual.
And that’s the point. Secular slaughter ritual is humane because we never see the whole process. We can reasonably assume during a successful stun animals won’t know what hit them BUT not all stuns are successful first time AND that’s the point when the Secular ritual is far from humane. Now MPs may write this off as insignificant but I feel sure the affected animals would not agree. MPs may choose to believe that second stuns are applied immediately – but that assumes the now seriously stressed animal will know to stand still for the repeat process. BUT this is unseen. Therefore it’s humane. QED.
Of course veterinary surgeons are better informed but to what extent is their opinion based on the their emotions? How many veterinary students have made up their minds before they start training and does their training actually deal with this subject at length. Remember vets are motivated by the need save life and not willfully sacrifice it – except when it is necessary to reduce suffering as a result of illness or injury.