Cruelty To Animals
Kosher slaughter has historically attracted criticism from non-Jews as allegedly being inhumane and unsanitary, in part as an antisemitic canard that eating ritually slaughtered meat caused degeneration, and in part out of economic motivation to remove Jews from the meat industry. Sometimes, however, these criticisms were directed at Judaism as a religion. In 1893, animal advocates campaigning against kosher slaughter in Aberdeen attempted to link cruelty with Jewish religious practice. In the 1920s, Polish critics of kosher slaughter claimed that the practice actually had no basis in Scripture. In contrast, Jewish authorities argue that the slaughter methods are based directly upon Genesis IX:3, and that "these laws are binding on Jews today." More recently, kosher slaughter has attracted criticism from some groups concerned with animal welfare, who contend that the absence of any form of anesthesia or stunning prior to the severance of the animal's jugular vein causes unnecessary pain and suffering.
Supporters of kosher slaughter counter that Judaism requires the practice precisely because it is considered humane. Research conducted by Temple Grandin and Joe M. Regenstein in 1994 concluded that, practiced correctly with proper restraint systems, kosher slaughter results in little pain and suffering, and notes that behavioral reactions to the incision made during kosher slaughter are less than those to noises such as clanging or hissing, inversion or pressure during restraint.
Other forms of ritual slaughter, such as Islamic ritual slaughter, have also come under controversy. Logan Scherer, writing for PETA, said that animals sacrificed according to Islamic law can not be stunned before they are killed. Muslims are only allowed to eat meat that has been killed according to Sharia law, and they say that Islamic law on ritual slaughter is designed to reduce the pain and distress that the animal suffers.
Recent calls for the abolition of kosher (Jewish) and halal (Muslim) slaughter were made by Germany's federal chamber of veterinarians and the Party for Animals in the Dutch parliament. The lower house of the Dutch parliament passed the bill but left a loophole saying that religious groups could continue ritual slaughter if they proved it was no more painful than other methods of slaughter. However, in June 2012, the upper house, the Senate, prevented the bill from becoming law.
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