This page is mainly concerned with religion-based Halal and Kosher slaughter of animals for human consumption, within the UK.
There are a number of different religious and cultural traditions concerning the ritual slaughter of animals for human consumption. The two most well-known examples are Halal in the Islamic tradition, and Kosher in the Jewish tradition. These religious traditions require animals to be slaughtered while they are fully conscious. This requires having their throats deeply cut by severing the main arteries and windpipe, enabling the blood to drain out, and eventual death.
It is a requirement that animals are not stunned or rendered unconscious pre-slaughter, as commanded by their respective religious texts.
There is controversy over whether this is a humane practice. Do animals suffer more if they are pre-stunned or not stunned before being slaughtered? 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 in the UK.
Atheism UK’s position:
- 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.
- However the reason for ritual slaughter is based upon a false premise: that a god exists and commands meat to be slaughtered and prepared in a particular way.
- 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.
- 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.