15/3/13 Euro Quality Lambs Ltd Press Release
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Asalam o alaikum,
I hope you are all keeping well Insha’Allah. I have recently been contacted by a group of researchers/scientists from the Royal Veterinary College, London, regarding a new research project provisionally entitled “Investigating what effect the cut made on cattle slaughtered without stunning has on the time of onset of unconsciousness”.
The main objective of this study is to investigate if a cut made close to the jaw bone (i.e. at the Cervical 1 position (C1) as opposed to the conventionally practised C3 cut during traditional slaughter without stunning) has any effect on the incidence of ballooning (obstruction, aneurism) of the carotid arteries and how this affects the time to lose consciousness/collapse of the animals. The project is funded by DEFRA. I have been asked by the project co-ordinator to contact Muslim stakeholders to inform them of the existence of this project and to encourage participation. Participation is requested from as wide a range of people as possible, in particular from the halal industry, certifiers and scholars.
As background information, there is no specific time commitment for anybody who wants to participate, actively or passively. The time and mode of participation is left entirely up to the participants. However, the researchers would appreciate if participating individuals and organisations get actively involved by asking probing questions and/or make any religious suggestions/objections on this method of slaughter. The project team will keep the participants well-informed as the research project develops.
I wish to emphasise that if all other animal welfare risks have been properly managed and made equal for all slaughter systems, there are three main animal welfare concerns when the animal is slaughtered without stunning. The first concern is how the animal is restrained and positioned at the time of slaughter. The second is the potential pain associated with the ventral neck cut itself. The third, and the most important, is the length and ‘quality’ of time that the animal is conscious after the cut. The focus of this study is on the most important concern i.e. the length and quality of time that the animal is conscious after the cut.
It is critical for the Muslim community to engage with researchers working on religious slaughter without stunning and I urge everyone to participate. We should proactively support and encourage sincere research in this field which has potential to improve slaughtering practices and welfare outcomes for the animal whilst enhancing halal compliance. The potential of cutting at the C1 position needs to be further researched, discussed, and debated within the Muslim community. The potential for using lateral recumbancy (cattle slaughter on its side) should also be researched and this could be the natural next step. Currently it is forbidden to slaughter cattle on its side although research has shown that dairy cattle are calmer when their feet are being trimmed whilst on their side.
I hope you will accept the invitation and provide your valuable thoughts and suggestions to improve research in the welfare of farm animals slaughtered for halal food. Please send me an email with your contact details. I will get back in touch before compiling a list for the research co-ordinator. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Dr Asif Muhammad Rao
Euro Quality Lambs Ltd.
t:+44 (0) 1588 673000
f:+44 (0) 1588 673773
m:+44 (0) 7717 318412