Stunning animals is the most humane way to slaughter them, pure and simple. Also, people of other faiths shouldn’t be subjected to eating it, in any way shape or form. KGS

Halal meat is being served in schools, hospitals and pubs – even though vets say Islamic slaughter is cruel

A few hours before dawn, and even through the inky blackness it is clear this is no ordinary warehouse. Outside the building, gusts of wind send hay and straw flying, and the air is thick with the acrid sent of manure.

Despite the darkness, I can see blood trickling down the gutters and a group of men clutching knives. Every so often, the eerie scene is punctured by the sound of lambs bleating.

I am standing outside one of Britain’s abattoirs. To the casual observer, it is no different to any other slaughterhouse, though it’s strange to find one so close to a city centre that it’s within walking distance of Birmingham’s branch of Harvey Nichols.

I have visited several abattoirs for research purposes over the years, and by their very nature they’re noisy and messy places, with vats of blood and entrails.

The main difference here, though, is that this abattoir produces halal meat, in accordance with strict Islamic guidelines. Put simply, this means the animals killed here are not stunned with an electrical current — as they are at conventional slaughterhouses — to render them unconscious before they are dispatched.

Instead, they are fully conscious as their throats are slit by a slaughterman as he utters prayers to Allah to ‘bless’ the animal. The creature then bleeds to death in a process that can take more than 30 seconds.

Killing an animal by cutting its throat without stunning is, in fact, illegal in this country. However, there is a legal loophole allowing this if it is being done for religious reasons — in other words, for the production of halal or kosher meat.

But this is an exemption that the British Veterinary Association and the Government’s advisers, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, are objecting to, saying this form of slaughter causes ‘intolerable cruelty’. They have repeatedly demanded that it be banned.

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