Facts of LifeElectrical stunning of animals [Archives:2005/837/Health]

April 28 2005

By Dr. Khaled al-Nsour
For the Yemen Times

Does electrical stunning mitigate the slaughter or does it constitute a form of torture for the animal?

At present, there are no conclusive proof that electrical stunning is totally comfortable from the animal's point of view. However, there have been findings to enhance the probability that it does eliminate pain. Studies have indicated that electrical stunning applied anywhere on the animal other than on the head does not induce epilepsy and cause pain.

Effective electrical stunning is dependent on inducing an epileptic seizure in the animal, which is believed to lead to a loss of consciousness and subsequent loss of pain sensation due to the following reasons. During epilepsy activity of the brain according to the electroencephalogram was shown to be grossly abnormal in comparison with its activity during the normal state of consciousness. It also indicates an absence of sensation under induced epilepsy.

But Does electrical stunning of animals lead to death? Comprehensive studies in developed countries, especially New Zealand, have shown that, when applied to the head only, electrical stunning of animals do not cause death, since it is a reversible and recoverable state. If not slaughtered, the stunned animal would make a full recovery. Heart failure would not, under normal conditions, occur. especially if the electrodes are only applied in a temporal position so as to avoid the flow of electric current through the body and the heart. In the case of calves, the frontal-occipital position was also found to be possible.

However, there are exceptions and any animal that suffers heart failure for any unforeseeable reason should be clearly identified during slaughter and rejected as not suitable for consumption by Muslims. For, when the heart function stops, blood from the carotid arteries is no longer pulsatile and bleeding is slower than in animals that are slaughtered while still alive. These symptoms are clearly and easily recognizable at the time of slaughter.