Denmark bans halal and kosher slaughter. Justifiable?

Here’s the story.

This is a difficult one for me. I hate cruelty to animals but is this form of slaughter really that cruel? And the statement by the Minister for Agriculture and Food bothers me, ie animal rights come before religion. Religion is a human right so the statement is equivalent to saying animal rights come before human rights. That’s wrong and I think Denmark has made the wrong choice here.

I think Denmark is wrong. Kosher slaughter is extremely quick and quite humane, and Halal slaughter is usually very quick and humane as well.

You do not understand the nature of the right to religion. It only means that you have a right to not have your religious practice banned for being religious practice. It does not mean that if you’re doing something illegal - like operating a slaughterhouse that does not meet standards of humane treatment of animals - it suddenly becomes legal if you claim “God says I need to!”

Have you ever seen it performed? I remember seeing a cow and goat killed this way hen a I was a kid. The neck is cut and the animal is kept alive so the heart can pump and the blood is drained. The animals kick, scream and make horrific gurgling noises. It didn’t seem very quick or humane to me.

What about importing kosher and halal meat? Is that also banned? Denmark is so small the transportation difference between inside and outside Denmark probably isn’t that much.

If I didn’t know better I might suspect that this measure is really about discouraging Muslims (and incidentally Jews) from settling in Denmark, instead of preventing any putative animal cruelty. But I’m cynical that way.

No, I’ve never seen it. My statement was based on what I’ve read, and I’ll do some more reading.

After some brief reading, at least some sources say that the post-cut convulsions are involuntary and the animal is already insensate, but that’s just after a few minutes of googling. I’ll keep reading.

This link details more than I ever thought I’d want to know about animal slaughter techniques currently being employed.

This related link describes the specifics of stunning the animal vs. kosher slaughter.

If done properly, kosher and hallal slaughter should be quick and painless in 95% of the cases, while stunning the animal improperly can cause panic, pain and unnecessary suffering for the animal.

Bottom line is that both can be done in a humane and painless manner given the correct equipment and trained professionals.

Not enough detail in the OP article to understand what drove their decision to ban ritual slaughter techniques.

I’ve seen it performed as a child on several occasions. A cow, a pig and multiple chickens. Nothing about it looked particularly “humane” and I think that’s the wrong word to describe the act. I think it’s used to pacify the masses into thinking killing an animal can be a benign experience. It can’t.

Quick, I can buy. Painless? Really?

Also, you’re saying, basically, that one method, done right, is better than another method, done wrong. That doesn’t exactly seem a fair comparison.

It’s the right word to describe the act if it’s done that way. Letting an animal bleed to death while it’s conscious isn’t.

Poorly expressed. What I meant to say was that stunning does not necessarily guaranty a “painless” result any more than a perfectly done ritual slaughter. They can both go badly and I think with about the same rate of success/failure.

If you read Temple Gradin’s personal observations, she claims that ritual killings can be relatively painless for the animal. She goes into detail about the position of the animal and what actions will cause pain or alarm for the dying animal.

If anybody is an authority on the subject, I believe she is certainly near the top of her field.

Having said that, I’m not going to pretend for second that killing an animal, regardless of technique, should in any way be considered non-traumatic to some extent. Either for the animal or for the people involved.

Not implausible. I’ve cut fingers with very sharp blades on occasion. While I can tell I’ve done something wrong immediately, it may take 30 seconds or more for the cut to actually hurt. Not so sharp blades hurt a lot more and sooner. With proper ritual slaughter, that’s about the time it takes for complete insensibility in a cow (much less time for sheep, according to Temple Grandin’s site linked above). So it doesn’t seem crazy that unconsciousness could occur before pain is really felt.

I’m pretty sure they don’t stun chickens as a non-kosher slaughtering method. I am not up on industry standards, but a few decades ago one of my cousins would get work killing chickens as a summer job. He would wring their necks.

Chickens killed at home were usually beheaded with an axe. Grandpa told stories about hanging them on a clothesline and using a knife. I’m not sure if anyone believed him. It sounds convoluted and messy and he was not above telling whoppers.

If you’re raising chickens at home, by the time the extra roosters are big enough to harvest, you may not care that they’re about to die. They do not play well with others.

If the animal (or a person for that matter) is rendered unconscious or dead fast enough it won’t have time to be traumatized. It won’t have a functioning mind to be traumatized with.

You understand that you don’t slaughter a large animal like a cow or pig by sneaking up on it and cunningly slicing it’s throat with a large sharp blade when it’s not looking.

Modern slaughter houses are designed to minimize the animals ability to move or to cause panic. People who slaughter their own animals on farms employ some sort of restraint for the animal to avoid injury and unnecessarily messy and ugly outcomes. Temple Gradin (in the links I provided) suggests various methods to support/restrain the animal to ultimately minimize pain but also not to alarm it.

It’s not as simple as, “It didn’t even see it coming.”

The evidence for these forms of slaughter being “humane” (whatever that is supposed to mean, exactly) as compared to other methods is, at best, contradictory. That being an apparently winless argument, what happens if we proceed on the assumption that these methods aren’t humane – that they are rooted in ancient rituals rather than scientific understanding? Then what?

Here’s what, IMHO.

The question “Denmark bans halal and kosher slaughter. Justifiable?” can be reworded thus:

“Denmark bans religiously-dictated cruelty in favor of evidence-based rationality. Justifiable?”

Thus worded, the question answers itself.

I was thinking more in terms of a large, high velocity bullet to the brain. You said “killing an animal, regardless of technique” could never be anything other than traumatic; nothing about blades or throats. A blade to the throat is a relatively slow way of killing something, whether the target is looking or not.

You “think” with about the same rate of success? Why? How is “success” measured?

With a successful slaughter starting with a captive bolt gun, the animal is rendered unconscious instantly. Without it, the animal goes unconscious from loss of blood after getting it’s neck severed in some amount of time greater than instantaneous. Is the latter considered successful?

My observations differed.

I don’t know about halal, but I thought the meat wasn’t kosher if the animal didn’t die immediately. Wiki (of course) has an article about kosher slaughter. There are rules that the knife has to be extremely sharp, and the butcher can’t hack or saw or press the cut.

I have never seen it done, but if cutting the jugular, carotid arteries, and vagus nerve results in unconsciousness as quickly as a judo choke does, it would be awful quick and thus relatively painless.

This cite claims they collapse within 10-15 seconds after their throats are cut, which squares with my experience of choke-outs. It also says the cattle don’t seem to react much when their throats are cut.

ISTM that the kosher method is not significantly more cruel than the bolt-firing method often used, at least not when done correctly. No doubt messing it up is nasty, but that is true of any humane method. And the kosher butcher has a motivation to avoid anything that would make the meat non-kosher and therefore lower cost.

So off the top of my head, it seems Norway is over-reacting. One wonders if they are as concerned with the Minke whales they kill, even though it does not appear that whalers are as careful with the process of slaughter.