To Stun or Not to Stun?

We are in full support of traditional stun free slaughter as well as supporting stunned slaughter as they are both Sharia compliant. There are lengthy articles going through this all over the internet but what seems to be missed is the treatment, raising and transport of animals. Scaremongering titles about ritual sacrifice halal slaughter in the press fuel this illogical and emotional response from the public and officials who a lot of the time have never even set foot in a slaughterhouse.

Stunning can be done in a way that is so seamless that it can make a very stressful time for the animals less stressful. The same as Kosher or Ritual Islamic slaughter. It can be quick and less stressful if the animals are handled well. There seems to be a dreamy, un-realistic idea of what it takes to kill an animal and sometimes we are guilty of this misjudgement. Maybe its down to the fact that most of us have become quite detached from our food, the process and the effort in growing it.

I have this joke with my kids where I say everything comes from pooh! This is because the cycle that we grow food from starts with inputs of nutrients that come from the soil, or nutrient in the water from the sea. Its life from decay. Life from death. Life from rotting. Life from pooh! Nowhere is this more visceral than the slaughter house where the large beings that have had a humble diet of grass move through clashing machines and blood soaked floors, walls and people. It is enough to put you off when the smell of blood and guts hits you like an invisible humid wall. It’s a powerful life changing experience and I know our customers understand this and that’s why they chose us. They want an ethical way to eat meat. I chose Abraham's because I wanted to do so. I also was aware of the meat business and some of the unbelievable things that go on.

Have a look at the following, this is the reality people:

Organic & Free Range Chicken – Location: Devon, England

Chickens are brought to the slaughterhouse in crates on the day and are kept in the loading bay. Their feet are shackled and they are loaded onto a line upside down where they are pre stunned in a water bath, which renders the chicken unconscious, immobile and insensible to pain. This stun is set to a legally approved current, which is designed to stun the chicken and not to kill it. As a proof of this, the chicken should recover completely with 3-4 minutes after a pre-stun. There is a 10 second gap between a water bath stun and slaughter.

The owner of the slaughterhouse we use, prefers this method because he feels that stunning to kill, although effective, doesn’t allow the animal to bleed out completely hence this method is not used at all.

During slaughter, we make sure that each chicken is respected and killed as quickly as possible after the stun to further minimise possibility that the chicken died before slaughter.

We also say the Tasmiya prayer on every chicken in a state of consciousness, awareness and gratitude.

After the chicken has bled out, it is scalded to soften the feathers, plucked with a machine and everything else finished by hand. Its entrails are then removed and disposed of after a vet inspection. The chickens are washed and also inspected by a FSA registered vet and hung on racks, cooled and dispatched the next day to Abraham's own processing unit in Kent.

Our team of butchers, process and pack your Chicken as per your order instructions.

Organic Lamb/Mutton/Goats – Location: Craven Arms – Non Stun

The sheep are brought in by our farmers to the holding pens in the slaughterhouse. Our group of lambs are kept separate from any other animals and are always killed first due to them being organic. They are walked into a holding area that has high walls so they cannot see what is happening even if they jump up, which sometimes happens. The floor is covered with comfortable non-slip rubber matting. The handlers rarely shout at the animals, something I have seen and heard regularly in other places. This is done in groups to lower the stress levels of the animals as they are a herd animal and are more comfortable together.

The sheep are then moved towards the conveyor-restrainer which holds them in a position that stops them from running or jumping. They come up towards the awaiting slaughter man.

This is where we slaughter the animal with one cut across the neck while reciting the Tasmiya, “Bismilah, Allah Hu Akbar” . The ability to this right first time needs a combination of skill and endurance. We do this all in a state of gratitude, awareness and reverence. The red button is pressed which locks the bleed out for 20 seconds and the animal is then shackled. At this point, the animal is still kicking and convulsing as it moves towards the line. The head, fleece and skin are removed. The carcass, entrails and offal are all inspected by a FSA registered vet. Once the vet gives the OK, the carcass is sent to the chiller ready for dispatch to our Abraham's processing unit in Kent.

Our team of butchers, process and pack your lamb as per your order instructions.

Beef (Non Organic/HMC) – Location: Ireland

The cattle are brought into comfortable holding pens with non-slip flooring and are given access to water and food if necessary. They are walked through a cattle chute that has walls either side that is high enough to prevent cattle becoming stressed from any external distractions.

They are then placed into a kill box, which is a contraption that holds the cattle still and pushes its head up creating a neck brace, which stretches the neck tight ready for slaughter.

The slaughterman recites the tasmiya and quickly cuts through the neck in the presence of a HMC certified inspector and FSA registered vet. Once the cut has been administered, the animal is released onto a platform where it bleeds out and then it is shackled, hung and then processed for delivery and dispatch to Abraham Organic’s processing unit in Kent.

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