There are 4 main types of stunning practices found today in UK Slaughter houses

Methods of Stunning

In 1985 the UK government the Ministry of Agriculture pass a legislation which Exempted Jewsh & Muslims community from stunning the Animals prior to Slaughtering.

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The UMO (The Union of Muslim Organisations of U.K.& Eire as issued a Press Release in light of recent Proposal.

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The Captive Bolt Pistol

There are two types of captive bolt pistol: penetrative and non-penetrative. Penetrative stunners drive a bolt into the skull and cause unconsciousness both through physical brain damage and the concussive blow to the skull. The bolt on a non-penetrative stunner is 'mushroom-headed' and impacts on the brain without entering the skull.

Unconsciousness is caused by the concussive blow. After the animal is unconscious, it is slaughtered.The bolt is described as 'captive' because it flies out of the barrel but remains attached to the pistol. The pistol is placed on the centre of the animal's forehead and is either trigger-fired or fires automatically on contact with the animal's head.

Electric Head Stunning to the Brain

Electric head-only stunning with tongs is used to stun cattle, calves, sheep, goats, rabbits and ostriches. The operator places a pair of electric tongs on either side of the animal's head and passes an electric current through the brain - supposedly causing a temporary loss of consciousness.

Water Bath Stunning

The electric waterbath is widely used to stun chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. Birds are shackled upside down on a moving conveyor which carries them to an electrified waterbath into which their heads are supposed to be immersed. The shackles contact a bar which is connected to earth. The strength of the electrical current has risen in recent years - with the aim of ensuring that birds suffer a cardiac arrest and die when they enter the waterbath.

Gas Stunning

An animal is stunned by exposing them to a mixture of carbon dioxide and air. This gas causes the animal to loose its consciousness, after which it is slaughtered.

From an Islamic perspective, two main questions arise here:

  1. Is using the method of stunning permissible?
  2. Will the animal be considered lawful (halal) if it was slaughtered according to the rulings of Shariah after being stunned?

As far as the answer to the first question is concerned, this depends on whether stunning the animal reduces the pain or causes more unnecessary pain.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

"Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill (an animal), kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters"

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