Captive Stunbolt vs Halal Slaughter

Quebeckers don’t seem to know that the two horse abattoirs here don’t even use stunbolts; they use 22-calibre rifles instead. Thus the entire argument put forward by the PQ which claims to know “Quebec values” best is bogus, completely false, and betrays an enormous ignorance of what’s going on in la patrie. Please read on.

I am indebted to Ihsaan Gardee writing in The Montreal Gazette today regarding the Parti Quebecois (PQ) once again demonizing cultural practices which they claim ” are against traditional Quebec values”…those apparently being to use the captive stunbolt in slaughterhouses as this is supposed to be more humane than kosher or halal slaughter methods.  Mr. Gardee refers to a study done by The School of Veterinary Medicine at Hanover University, Germany.  I urge everyone to click on that link and read this definitive study which, for me at least, puts to rest (yet again) propaganda which claims that the captive stunbolt reduces harm (not that the CHDC videos haven’t already proved that).  This is an excerpt from Mr. Gardee’s article in The Gazette.

“When looking into the actual science of both halal and kosher methodologies, one finds that both are, contrary to the misinformation, in fact more humane than the standard industry practice of captive bolt pistol-stunning, as demonstrated by an intensive research study at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Hanover University, Germany.  The study found, through the use of an electroencephalograph, that animal slaughter done by the conventional industry method registered pain in the animals, whereas halal and kosher methods resulted in no detected pain.”  (The Montreal Gazette, March 19, 2010. Page A25)

As pointed out in the study, Germany is a non-Muslim country.  Clearly, the report-writers would have no vested interest in producing rigged results.  Our fellow horse advocate, Karin Hauenstein (see blog post) wrote this in one of her excellent comments on the subject of halal, stunbolt and factory slaughter–a subject she has researched in depth:

Equines and bovines are completely different species of animals. It could be possible for a horse’s owner, who is a proficient butcher in Kosher or Halal method, to kill their horse correctly, at home in their own backyard. I have never seen nor heard of that happening. Horses’ senses are far too sensitive for them to be slaughtered correctly in a commercial environment. The main requirement in Kosher and Halal slaughter is that the animal be completely calm and peaceful.

The Gazette article by Ihsaan Gardee was aimed at addressing how, once again, the Parti Quebecois here in Quebec is using slaughter methods to “play the fear card”, not unlike the racist jibes thrown at Obama before his election, and very similar to Jacques Parizeau’s comments upon losing the last Referendum that it was lost to “ethnics with money.”

Another point made in the study is that halal is more hygienic than stunning.  Here’s a quote from the study:

As for the most modern method of electric stunning being practiced in many developed countries, the Meat Inspection Branch of the United States Department of Agriculture came to the following conclusion in 1953: “The use of electric stunning methods by plants which operate under federal meat inspection has not been permitted as a result of experiments which were conducted several years ago at the University of Chicago. These experiments indicated that electric stunning in hogs resulted in certain changes in the tissues which could not be differentiated by gross examination from similar changes produced by disease.”

As Karin points out in another of her comments, halal cannot be carried out in abattoir settings where sheer numbers make it impracticable, and if you read the report cited above (and I sincerely hope you will), there are more humane-centered components in the halal ritual than we could ever hope for in our current stunbolt practice.

Ultimately, this kind of verified information further discredits the highly touted captive stunbolt, particularly as used on equines.  It’s not that we needed more evidence, but the message is still not getting through.  And this recent controversy in Quebec is a perfect example of how the public has been duped into believing that the stunbolt method is a more humane method than any other (and, as to the oxymoron which is the term “humane slaughter”, I leave that alone for now)–duped to the point that it is now being used as a political argument.  The worst part of that is (it bears repeating):  Quebeckers don’t seem to know that the two horse abattoirs here don’t even use stunbolts; they use 22-calibre rifles instead.   Thus the entire argument put forward by the PQ which claims to know “Quebec values” best is bogus, completely false, and betrays an enormous ignorance of what’s going on in la patrie. 

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