This afternoon we met with Ahmet Gelir who works for the World Halal Union and TSE (Turkish Standards Institute). TSE has a protocol for how animals must be slaughtered which is used as a basis for 37 Islamic countries that belong to World Halal Union. In their protocol there is a paragraph stating that animals must not be stunned during slaughter. The only exception is for animals that show resistance to being handled; these animals can be electrically “shocked” in order to “calm their movements”. However the amperage parameters allowed are low and thus cannot always render the animals unconscious deeply or long enough to avoid risk of causing pain by application or reawakening during bleed out. Possibly just the electric shock causes more suffering at such low amperes. This rule against stunning and the maximum ampere parameters and exception are nowhere to be found in the Koran or in the Hadiths, it is just made up. These ideas are a consequence of events centuries ago when carrion (long-dead animals) was eaten and causing health problems. Eating carrion is forbidden (haram) in Islam for good reason… but unfortunately this has been translated over the years to be thought that animals have to be totally conscious and alert even during the moment their throats are slit! Thus when captive bolt stunners and proper electric stunners were invented 60 years ago, Islamic scholars insisted that they were not halal. This is unfounded and as a result has caused a horrendous amount of additional pain and fear to animals being slaughtered while fully sentient. Causing pain to animals is not at all in line with the essence of the teachings of the Prophet to not cause animals to suffer. The TSE protocol disrespects the teachings of the Prophet. Islamic slaughterhouse managers and their customers do not feel allowed to stun animals during slaughter. Many slaughterhouse managers in Islamic countries like Turkey actually want to adopt stunning, as it is safer for the workers, causes much less animal suffering and results in better meat quality but they feel cornered. If they have a stunner they feel they may risk losing customers (like big supermarkets) which require that their suppliers of meat have Halal certificates based on TSE standards. The hypocritical thing is that live-hoisting is also forbidden according to TSE but that does not seem to be enforced!! See photos.
We showed Ahmet Gerlir our videos of how badly animals are suffering inside Turkish abattoirs. He understood our concerns and is open to our arguments but cannot change the rule in the standards on his own. He proposed organizing a meeting in Bursa with Imams, Turkish and EU scientists and officials to discuss this issue, run scientific local tests (in Turkey) to show how stunning works and then as a collective group aim for change. It sounds like a reasonable plan, but we hope it will turn into reality. Asalet will stay in touch and do all possible to facilitate change. It is frustrating but it is important to remember that it is not a Muslim-only issue. In non-Islamic abattoirs, such as huge pig slaughterhouses in western countries, pigs endure 15- 20 seconds of intense struggle and pain during stunning in CO2 gas. If slaughter is to occur, stunning should be always applied but it must be painless and immediate or else it defeats its purpose. All countries and cultures must clean up their act and start showing respect for animal life. Conditions are so bad almost everywhere we go. We encourage people to go vegan as trust in the livestock industry is very low. TSE in Turkey, we expect you to do your part to help stop this horrible suffering in Turkish slaughterhouses.