Exposed: religious slaughter cruelty

Exposed: religious slaughter cruelty

Despite shocking new evidence of animal cruelty at a halal abattoir, the British Government continues to oppose the  banning religious slaughter.

Scenes of “gratuitous” abuse of animals, according to the Independent, are contained in secretly filmed footage showing abattoir workers repeatedly hacking at sheep’s throats, hurling them into solid structures and kicking them in the face.

Four slaughtermen at the North Yorkshire abattoir had their operating licences suspended by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) after the scenes of brutality were caught on camera.

The footage shows animals being treated with “gratuitous violence and contempt”, according to the charity Animal Aid, which carried out the investigation.

The film emerged days after a petition demanding that  slaughter without pre-stunning be outlawed passed the 100,000 mark, adding pressure on political leaders to bring in fresh curbs on inhumane practices in abattoirs.

Last night the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs repeated it had no intention of banning religious slaughter. It said the Government preferred animals to be stunned before they are killed, but respected the rights of Jewish and Muslim communities to eat meat in accordance with their beliefs.

Last week David Cameron’s official spokesman said Mr Cameron remained firmly opposed to a ban. He said the Prime Minister still stood by the view he expressed in Israel, in support of those traditions.


The covert filming at the Bowood Lamb abattoir in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, shows workers hacking and sawing at throats in contravention of Islamic practice, which requires animals to be killed with one clean sweep of a knife. In one instance it took five attempts to sever blood vessels.

One worker, who is wearing the traditional Muslim kufi skullcap, recites the words Allahu Akbar (God is great) as he wields his blade. Other images captured during the filming of the slaughter of 400 sheep over three days show:

• Sheep being kicked in the face and head, lifted by their ears, fleeces or legs, and hurled into solid structures.
• A worker bouncing up and down on the neck of a sheep that is still conscious.
• Staff laughing over a sheep bleeding to death with spectacles drawn around its eyes in green paint.
• Knives being sharpened in front of sheep, which also saw other animals being shackled and hoisted.
• Sheep falling from a chute on to a slippery floor in the kill area and frequently thrown head-first into a solid upright structure, which is part of the conveyor.

The FSA said:

Four slaughtermen have had their licences suspended and we are investigating. It means they can’t operate as slaughtermen and work with live animals.

When the FSA has finished investigating, it will need to consider if there is sufficient evidence of a breach of animal welfare legislation to justify a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Asked about the allegations, William Woodward, one of the abattoir’s directors, said the firm had no comment. But, according to the BBC, Jamie Foster, a solicitor speaking on behalf of Bowood Lamb, said the incidents were “hugely regrettable”.

He said that a picture of a slaughterman standing on the neck of a sheep:

Fell far below the standards that Bowood would find acceptable, and that individual was immediately dismissed for gross negligence. But it isn’t right that this is routine because Bowood is a company that takes animal welfare extremely seriously.

Incidentally, the video in the BBC report shows the faces of the abusers, but in footage posted today on YouTube, blurring hides their identities.

Animal Aid, the charity which recorded the footage, felt compelled to issue a lengthy statement acknowledging its fears that the footage could inflame religious hatred, but insisting the images were so shocking that they had to be released in the public interest.

It added:

Withholding release of the footage would be a betrayal of our key mission: to expose and combat animal cruelty.

Bowood Lamb is the 10th slaughterhouse in which we have filmed undercover since January 2009. As with the others, we didn’t know what we would find when our cameras were planted, including that it was a halal establishment – the first we have investigated.
The charity continued:

The feature that distinguishes it [Bowood] from the traditional ‘humane’ English slaughterhouse is that it kills animals without pre-stunning.

Jewish and Muslim religious authorities assert that death by the shechita or halal methods, without pre-stunning, is instantaneous and painless. A body of evidence demonstrates that this is not a credible position, and our new footage removes any remaining doubt.

Rather than animals being treated with compassion and being uninjured prior to the fatal cut, we see them routinely treated with gratuitous violence and contempt. Additionally, many of the sheep in our film are not dispatched with a single clean cut but have their throats hacked at repeatedly with a knife that is either blunt or being used ineptly.

Compassionate people whatever their religious beliefs, or none, will be appalled by the treatment endured by these animals.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said:

The public has a right to expect that all farmed animals have as painless and humane an end to their lives as possible…This footage sounds absolutely shocking.

The petition calling for an end to non-stun slaughter has been championed by the British Veterinary Association, which has warned ministers that they “simply cannot ignore the strength of public feeling” over animal welfare.

Hat tip: Antony Niall and Angela K

19 responses to “Exposed: religious slaughter cruelty”

  1. matt says:

    those who can abuse animals so easily will likely do it to humans in the same way

  2. paul says:

    1. Give them sharp knives;
    2. Train them to sharpen knives;
    3. Have mutton and goat available in British butcher shops, then I won’t need to buy from halal butchers.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    Just because eating non-human primates is a direct cause of highly contagious and terrifying human diseases doesn’t mean we should prevent people from eating non-human primates for religious purposes.

    Legal exceptions to food laws based on religion can be fairly applied – no food laws at all, because it’s all compulsory or forbidden somewhere – or can be abolished. Let us abolish them.

  4. mrspock says:

    ‘Humane’? Surely the most hypocritically, vapidly, self-servingly self-aggrandising word used by homo sapiens sapiens. The only thing it can be said to mean with any degree of accuracy is ‘human’.

    It seems to me, a simple foreigner, that ethical treatment of sentient beings begins with not wishing to kill them.

  5. Angela_K says:

    We’ve had the head of the Veterinary association calling for a ban on religious slaughter as well as most of the public and now a petition but still our spineless Government won’t outlaw it or allow meat consumers the right to know how meat was slaughtered by labeling.

    “hugely regrettable” what weasel words, these are sentient creatures who deserve a decent life and quick painless death. This is the same religion that throws blindfolded gay men from a roof top and then stones them to death when they survive.

  6. Broga says:

    Sadistic scum. Cameron’s opinion: can this loathsome man sink any lower? Always after the main chance which will get him votes.

  7. Shane Tyson says:

    Utter scum……….

  8. L.Long says:

    When PETA and other groups like vegans go after the isLame & jews for the horrors they cause animals then I’ll pay attention on their efforts to get better treatment for animals on USA farms and ranches. Of course they will have to grow a pair before they find the courage to do that.

  9. barriejohn says:

    L.Long: PETA are opposed to the use of animals as a human food source. I don’t agree with them, but it would be illogical of them to oppose halal slaughter!

  10. Daz says:

    If your ideology demands that any meat you eat is killed in any less than the most humane way possible, there are vegetarian options available. No one would be forced to eat non-halal/kosher meat, if inhumane methods were to be made illegal.

    But that would mean the religious would have to make an effort to stand by their stated principles. Colour me completely unsurprised that they once again refuse to do so.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    Speaking of inhuman slaughter in the name of islam, the IS bastards have apparently burned that captive Jordanian pilot alive:

    Much as I abhor violence, I’m afraid this is a problem that needs sorting out one way, and one way only.

  12. jim says:

    I cant beleive what ive seen and read today .( Im 60 year s of age and was made to feel physically sick by these spineless retards )
    Ive lost the will to work ,and am still in a state of shock at the treatment these poor defenseless animals recieved at the hands of these barbaric and inhumane people,
    For christs sake , stand up for your own peoples values cameron and stamp out this outdated and vile act for good.

  13. Michael Glass says:

    The way to sort out this halal/kosher humbug is to invent another label: humane slaughter, and then to police it to make sure that it is humane.

    Humanely slaughtered meat would catch on just as free-range chicken has caught on, and for the same reason. People generally don’t mind eating meat, but by and large they want the animals to be killed quickly, cleanly and humanely.

    Enabling consumers to choose humanely slaughtered meat would pressure the industry to improve its standards. Once that happens there would be more pressure on the religious butchers to improve their standards.

    I find it beyond belief that there is something religiously objectionable about stunning an animal before slaughter. I am sure that many Jews and Muslims would prefer humanely slaughtered meat to meat that had been cruelly obtained, however ritually pure it is supposed to be.

  14. Ken lennon says:

    We need to sort out cruel Muslim and Jewish practice. This is Britain for gods sake(or is it Allah.) What a joke!
    One day, one day!
    Ken Lennon.
    Ps that goes for any blood thirsty git. Fox hunters and the like.
    These people will abuse children.

  15. barriejohn says:

    Michael Glass: Did you read that article to which I provided the link above?

    Awal Foneini, certification manager of the Halal Food Authority, told The Times that the rise in non-stun killings was due to “stronger campaigning” from Muslims who wrongly believed that stunning killed animals.

    Ignorance and religiosity go hand in hand.

  16. 1859 says:

    There is no such thing as ‘ritually pure’ meat! There is meat – the flesh of a dead animal. The notion you can purify meat with some ritual is complete and utter nonsense. Every religion is organised superstition and it is this superstition which is being used to excuse the needless suffering of defenseless animals. These religious ‘purifiers’ are disgusting – not only in their cruel behaviour but in their display of human ignorance. The parallels are disturbing are they not: you can spout some hocus pocus that ‘legitimises’ your cutting the throat of a fully conscious animal, and you can spout some hocus pocus that ‘legitimises’ your beheading – and burning – of your prisoners. Powerful stuff religion – it enables you to act like a monster and it allows you to display your ignorance as though it was your god’s very own truth!

  17. Cali Ron says:

    Hand and hand Indeed! The beginning of faith is the end of intelligent reasoning!

  18. barriejohn says:

    Powerful stuff religion – it enables you to act like a monster and it allows you to display your ignorance as though it was your god’s very own truth!

    Some of the nicest Christians that I knew could behave in the most intolerant manner even towards close family members, and the excuse was always: “It’s not what WE want; it’s what the Bible says that matters.” I was never quite sure whether this reasoning was enabling them to display a side of their character which they secretly delighted in or not!