This month Eyes on Animals visited a cattle slaughterhouse called EuroMeats in Belgium. Motivated to make improvements to the welfare of the animals passing through his plant, the Director met with the three local Imams to discuss steps they could take together to reduce pain during Halal slaughter. Open and respectful dialogue lead to them agreeing to at least use the captive bolt pistol to render cattle unconscious directly after the Islam slaughterman makes the Ritual cut to the animals´ throats.
Despite captive bolt pistols only rendering the animals unconscious, it is still most common that they are not allowed during Ritual Slaughter (Halal and Kosher). Halal requires that the animal is alive during slaughter, and there is a still an unfounded fear that the captive bolt pistol has rendered them dead. Thus normally during Halal slaughter the animal goes through the slaughter process fully conscious and this has been criticized for causing unnecessary pain. Some Imams and scientists and industry players however, like in this example, are making new agreements that they feel better reflect today´s technology and knowledge about how to reduce pain during slaughter. Some Imams allow captive bolt stunning before the cut, others accept light electric stunning, and some like these ones are accepting that the animal be at least rendered unconscious right after the Ritual cut. We commend all steps in reducing suffering during slaughter and thus wish to congratulate and thank Euromeats and the local Imams.