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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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British Vets Want Ban on Ritual Slaughter


John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, has argued the ritual killing of animals causes unnecessary suffering to animals.

John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, has argued the ritual killing of animals causes unnecessary suffering to animals.

The president-elect of the British Veterinary Association called for a ban on slaughtering cattle without first stunning it, which in effect would outlaw traditional kosher slaughter.

In an interview with the Times, John Blackwell called for prohibiting kosher and halal slaughter because it causes pain to the animal for “five or six seconds,” according to reports.

“They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck,” Blackwell said in the interview. “They will perceive the aspiration of blood. They will breathe in before they lose consciousness.”

Blackwell, who has been accused by religious leaders of “inflaming prejudice,” says animals must be stunned before the cut.

“We are looking for a meeting of minds to review the evidence base which clearly shows that slaughtering animals without stunning compromises welfare,” Blackwell told the Daily Mail. “If that can’t happen then I would like labelling at the point of sale that gives the consumer informed choice. If that is not possible we would be looking for a ban for killing without stunning.”

“There is no insensibility for these animals by cutting its throat and these remain conscious for seven seconds for sheep and two minutes for cattle and that is not acceptable,” he insisted. “As a vet and scientist welfare is top of our list.”

Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, responded: “I really regret John Blackwell’s remarks, which are completely misleading. Animals that are killed for the Jewish or Muslim markets do not bleed to death. Animals that are killed for the general market or the Muslim and Jewish market are killed in exactly the same way. A large animal has its throat cut and this renders it insensible to pain and unconscious. The Jewish method is designed to bring that about instantly, and using tendentious language is not helpful.”

You’ll note that neither Blackwell nor Arkush are able to offer real evidence to their claims, other than observations from a safe distance. It is impossible to discern objectively whether the animal is experiencing pain or not as its life is fading, and certainly not whether the animal is experiencing the same level of pain throughout the process.

Shimon Cohen, the campaign director of Shechita UK, which aims to preserve kosher slaughter, or shechitah, said the initiative was a “dereliction of duty.”

“Of the countless pressing animal welfare issues that we are faced with today, he has chosen to focus on an issue which is not supported by scientific consensus and which affects a tiny minority of animals,” Cohen said in a statement.

“Animal welfare is at the heart of everything that we do. It is scandalous that, once again, in the context of such pervasive cruelty in so many abattoirs, that the BVA continue to single out faith communities for criticism.”

More than 6,000 animals are killed in religious abattoirs every week in Britain, according to the Mail. The halal meat market is believed to be worth up to an estimated £2billion.

Charities including Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA also support the move to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning first.

Last week the Danish government was accused of being antisemitic for passing a law banning the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat.

The new law has been called antisemitic, the Mail reports, and “a clear interference in religious freedom.”

European Union regulations require animals be stunned before slaughter, unless an exemption can be found on religious grounds. Under Jewish law and halal under Islamic law, the animals must be conscious.

 

Some JTA content was used in this report.

About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.


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20 Responses to “British Vets Want Ban on Ritual Slaughter”

  1. Brown Sky says:

    all kinda ritualality what refer to kill of the poor animals should be banned throughout the world….

  2. John Blackwell should keep his nose out of other peoples beliefs, why not just come out and say your anti-Semetic. Our children are eating halal meat in schools today and the parents don't even know it. Leave the Jewish people to live their own lives with their own beliefs. Shalom Israel we love you

  3. Kosher slaughtering and halal slaughtering are very different. Ours entails one swift stroke, theirs can be done with several.

  4. Kosher slaughtering and halal slaughtering are very different. Ours entails one swift stroke, theirs can be done with several.

  5. Why did he not mention the ritual slaughter of chickens during some of the religious ceremonies of Africans and Jamaicans.. or is he afraid that their primitive curses actually work?

  6. Baron Trenk says:

    Jackie Rozell · that has to be the most stupid remark of the day

  7. Baron Trenk says:

    Jackie Rozell · that has to be the most stupid remark of the day

  8. hate is all it is. but we know that dont we

  9. Brothers & sisters it it TIME TO GO HOME!!!

  10. Stephen Morgan says:

    Obviously this man has never slaughtered an animal. I have and cutting the throat and the main arteries is the most humane to do it. Very little pain and rapid loss of BP cause the animal to be unconscious almost instantly. It prevents panic which causes glands to secrete hormones and enzymes which make the meat harmful to humans. That is the reason Hashem commands us not to eat road-kill.

  11. Blackwell has an evil heart

  12. I lived near a slaughter house for a popular meat co in L.A. and that method of slaughter is brutal. Ritual slaughters, namely Jewish/Kosher, is the most considerate and painless method. Why? Because God holds us responsible to be kind to animals. Animal cruelty is a punishable crime.

  13. Now man, what about all the hunting and shooting in the UK? Are deer and grouse stunned before being shot. Always a clean kill though the heart right?

    Come on, wound a deer and track how long before the poor beast gets finished off and dies? How about the poor animal who cannot be found to be put down.

    Ditto Norway and Sweden, both allow game hunting. The Sluomi hunt reindeer from choppers. What butchery.

  14. Oh yes don't forget the Norwegians kill whales – just part of their culture, a well loved tradition!

  15. What part of the Talmud covers this?

  16. What part of the Talmud covers this?

  17. Run Guo says:

    If he can not stop having any meat for his meal, and stop hunting in UK, then he should swallow an elephant and shut up.

  18. Rise Waxenberg Sachs says:

    You are a bigot! You don't like to eat animals, that is your own business and keep out of other people's business. Banning the extremely humane ritual slaughter of animals for consumption by Moslems and Jews would be a significant piece of bigoted legislation. Oh, by the way, do you wear any type of leather shoes or clothing? If you do, how did those animals die? Ritual slaughter or stoning?

  19. Rise Waxenberg Sachs says:

    You must also be a bigot.

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