There are a number of different religious traditions concerning the ritual slaughter of animals, for example, Halal in the Islamic tradition and Kosher in the Jewish tradition. Most of these traditions require an animal to be slaughtered while they are fully conscious by having their throat slit, enabling the blood to drain out.

It is a requirement that the animal not be stunned or be given anaesthetic as commanded by the holy texts.

There is controversy over whether this is a humane practice or not and several studies have not shown to be conclusive one way or the other.

There have been calls for all ritually slaughtered meat to be clearly labelled.

Atheism UK’s position.

  1. Animal welfare is an important consideration when looking at methods of slaughter and we welcome scientific research into answering the question of whether such methods of slaughter cause unnecessary suffering to animals.
  2. However the reason for ritual slaughter is based upon a false premise: that a god exists and commands meat to be slaughtered in a particular way.
  3. Due to the animal welfare concerns and the religious motive for the slaughter, we oppose the practice of ritual slaughter and call for its end in the UK.
  4. All ritually slaughtered meat, including products containing such meat, must be compulsorily labelled to enable those who do not wish eat ritually prepared food to avoid it. This includes labelling in restaurants.

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