Halal slaughter in Australia

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LAST UPDATED: 30 June 2016

There is some misunderstanding around halal slaughter in Australia. Firstly, Islamic leaders in Australia largely accept the practice of pre-slaughter stunning, which means from an animal welfare perspective, Halal slaughter need not be any different (nor 'crueller') than non-halal slaughter. In fact, when it comes to the way animals are stunned — the same method (referred to as 'reversible stunning') is used for many animals killed for their meat in Australia. We are advised that all of Australia's export abattoirs practice pre-slaughter stunning — and they are all 'halal-certified'.

It is illegal for abattoirs in Australia to slaughter animals without stunning. However, a small number of facilities have been given an exemption in order to practice un-stunned ritual slaughter. This is not only for a small local halal market but also to meet Jewish or 'kosher' slaughter requirements. Animals Australia has been campaigning to close the legal loophole that is allowing non-stun slaughter — both halal and kosher — to occur in several small abattoirs in Australia. We continue to lobby politicians, have held rallies and have provided an online platform for people to make their voices heard on this important issue. Thousands of Australians have already joined our calls to outlaw this cruel practice, and we will continue to campaign against non-stun slaughter until it is outlawed.

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'Humane' slaughter?

Sadly, what our work and the work of our colleagues from many other organisations has revealed, is that all animals killed in Australian slaughterhouses are at risk of great suffering. For example, last year footage from what is considered to be Australia's 'most humane' pig abattoir (which is also the largest pig abattoir in Australia) exposed horrendous suffering of pigs. This was just one example of how, even in the most well-managed facilities using 'best practice' methods, there is always a risk that animals will endure distressing and/or prolonged pain and suffering. Additionally, the transport and slaughter process can in itself be incredibly distressing to animals — regardless of whether they are killed in a halal- or kosher-approved abattoir or not.

Sensitive, intelligent pigs endure terrifying deaths inside Australian gas chambers — touted as the 'most humane' method of stunning by the pork industry.

If you're interested in learning more about the inherent cruelty involved with the mass-slaughter of animals, we encourage you to learn more about our investigative work into Australian abattoirs and slaughterhouses.

And to discover how easy it is to help create a world where no animal need suffer the fear and pain of slaughter, by choosing to live cruelty-free!

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