Muslim law demands that an animal must be drained of blood before it is halal-fit for consumption. As such, most slaughterers do not stun the animal first before slitting its throat, in the belief that drainage will be complete only if the animal is awake.
But now a study by researchers at the University of Bristol, has shown that the amount of blood drained from the animal slaughtered and the rate of blood loss, is the same regardless of whether or not the animal is stunned first.
For their study, Dr. Haluk Anil and his team measured the bleed-out in 13 cattle killed by the tradition Muslim method, and 13 killed in the same way, but having first been stunned by a captive-bolt-pistol blow to the head.
The team had earlier found that stunning did not affect "bleed-out" in sheep and the same was true for cattle as well.
"Stunning does not impede blood loss, therefore this objection cannot be used any more," New Scientist quoted Dr. Anil as saying.
Dr. Anil is now coordinating a European Union project to examine legislation and welfare issues related to religious slaughter, the Jewish shechita and Muslim halal practices.
Now that Rubashkin and his rabbis, along with Rubashkin’s attorney and flack Nathan Lewin (who himself is also a flack for Agudath Israel), have shown that ripping the throats out of live, fully-concious animals is "kosher slaughter at its best," why should the US Government continue to view kosher slaughter as humane? Answer: It will not continue to do so. Sometime in the not to distant future, based on Rubashkin’s cruelty and his rabbis lies, the government will push for stunning before the ritual cut, and it will do so using scientific evidence like that quoted above.
Rather than rallying around Rubashkin, Agudath Israel – which drove the haredi reaction to the scandal – would have been wise to throw him overboard. They did not and instead fought to defend Rubashkin’s cruelty as kosher slaughter as it should be done. The government now must find a way to allow that cruelty under existing humane slaughter law. Stunning is the obvious solution.
But haredim are opposed to stunning, as is the OU! Tough luck. You can’t have it both ways. If what Rubashkin did was "kosher slaughter at its best," kosher slaughter is by definition cruel and inhumane. Either some form of stunning must be used or kosher slaughter must be banned.
Of course, there is a third way – doing kosher slaughter in a standing ASPCA pen with well-trained schochtim and strong government oversight. The Jewish community will now be lucky if, in the end, this is what it gets.