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Animal welfare again

I am pleased that the issue of animal cruelty has been raised in relation to the ritual killing of sheep and other animals for Jewish and Muslim consumers. It is important that humans extend their scope of welfare concerns to both all forms of human life and to non-human life as well. This is not an attack on religious freedom* but a questioning of the implications of certain practices for animal cruelty.   Leaving animals killed for human consumption in a slow and tortuous way is simple cruelty and cannot be justified on moral or religious grounds.  Of course  that this extreme cruelty is compressed into a relatively short period – at most a few minutes – is an issue.  Exposing animals to a lifetime of unrelenting misery in a factory farm is probably in animal welfare terms much more harmful that failing to stun them before their throats are slit. But neither does this temporal comparison justify imposing a cruel death sentence.

* Of course as an atheist I do not believe or accept these religious theories so to that extent I am intolerant of them.  The  behaviour advocated by these religious groups increases my conviction that their activities are not being directed by ‘God’.

1 comment to Animal welfare again

  • conrad

    I’m not sure why Muslims would really be opposed to better slaughtering practices — although obviously I’m fairly ignorant on the matter. That being said, I think the Quran has quite strong rules against animal cruelty, and when you slaughter animals you are supposed to always use a sharpened blade and so on. I imagine this would have been best practice at the time and would have save would have saved a lot of animal cruelty throughout history, it’s just now we have something called a bullet to the head, which works even better. Given this, if the guys in places like Indonesia are doing a shoddy version of slaughtering animals, I’m not sure that this should be attributed to religion — in fact one might see it as them doing something against their religion.

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