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Humane Slaughter Methods

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 2 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Slaughter Methods Humane Inhumane

While producers of intensively reared poultry and meat will say there is nothing wrong with the slaughter methods they use, they are either misguided or right at the very minimum of what is acceptable.

Methods Acceptable to Both Producer and Animal

Compassion in World Farming (CIFW) or the Human Slaughter Association, amongst others, may beg to differ and their research shows there are plenty of available, swift, efficient and humane slaughter methods that are commercial and acceptable to both the farmer/producer and the animal.

Avian Flu

In countries where there have been avian flu outbreaks, it is common for poultry to be killed by a number of inhumane methods, none of which are considered acceptable by the above organisations. For example, large number of poultry are killed by burning, suffocation or burying alive, all of which cause immense suffering to the animals and actually vastly increase the risk of the disease spreading.

Meat for Human Consumption

In terms of human slaughter methods for animals destined for human consumption, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has carefully research operational standards for the killing of animals. The organisation is a practical operation that has the animals' best interests at heart, but is not a scaremongering type group, which can often do more harm than good.

For example, some people who disagree with PETA in the US say that for every animal PETA saves they will eat three more, just to spite them, so it is perhaps better to make sure all advice, campaigning and operational guidelines are sensible, achievable and non-threatening, to make sure it is difficult to argue against complying.

The OIE operational standards include the fact that human animal killing methods should result in immediate death or immediate loss of consciousness until death, which ensures that there is no unnecessary pain, distress or suffering.

The UK's Humane Slaughter Associations says that over 2 million cattle are killed inhumanely for religious reasons every year, and is, sadly, unable to give figures for those animals killed inhumanely outside of religious practices.

This organisation has a balanced, practical approach and divides their advice into categories such as 'welfare at slaughter', welfare at markets' and 'welfare during transport'. They work with a large number of responsible farmers and producers to be able to recommend suitable methods that protest the life and death of animals for human consumption.

Acceptable Practices

The Humane Slaughter Association guidelines and suggestions for ensuring animal are slaughtered in a humane fashion include a number of acceptable methods, such as using hand held stunning equipment, the use of inert gases such as argon that causes hypoxia (lack of oxygen), lethal doses of anaesthetic by injection or an electric water bath. The organisation is very clear that all these practices need to be carried out by fully trained personnel and that these methods can be wrongly carried out if not.

It is clear that the cheaper the meat we buy from the supermarket, the more likely the intensive practices used in not only the life of the animal but also it's death will be primarily based on cost cutting measures.

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