Facts about the source of some "halal" meat.
During their journey from auction to slaughterhouse, cattle are often forced to walk hundreds of kilometers to and from trucking points. During these forced marches, cattle who collapse from exhaustion suffer the additional horror of having chili peppers, tobacco, and/or salt rubbed into their eyes to try to move them along. During PETAs investigation, the delegates pulled whole and cut-up chili peppers, as well as leaves, from the eyes of countless cattle. Another method of forcing the cattle to move forward, used during the marches as well as in truck transport, is to twist and break their tails. The animals are also typically denied food, water, rest, or veterinary treatment during the forced marches and during truck transport.
1. Tail-breaking, rubbing chili, salt, or tobacco into the eyes of cattle, and other cruel practices used to move tired, sick, and injured cattle must be prohibited. Cattle too sick or injured to move should be treated by a veterinarian, removed to a sanctuary, or humanely destroyed by injection of a barbiturate, such as sodium pentobarbital.
2. Food, water, and rest must be provided to cattle at least every four hours.
Animals injured during transportation or loading and unloading continue to suffer when they arrive at the slaughterhouse. Downed animals languish on unloading ramps in the burning sun without food, water, or veterinary care.
At the Deonar slaughterhouse in Mumbai, the situation was far worse. At the time of the delegations tour at 10 a.m., there were already more than a dozen downed cattle. At least four had broken legs and could not stand up. One bull kept trying to raise himself to his feet but could not put his broken right front leg down. He struggled, moving in circles as he tried to get that foot on the ground until he finally collapsed under the heat of the sun. This same bull also had a broken horn from the truck transport nearly half-gone and oozing blood. While the slaughterhouse veterinarian providing the tour noted the bulls broken leg and stated that a broken horn is quite painful, he made no effort to provide any pain relief to the animal nor to put the bull out of his misery. At the Al-Kabeer slaughterhouse in Hyderabad, the delegation was refused access to the loading area, but from the road it could still be seen that several dead or dying cows had been left around the ramp. At Al-Kabeer and Deonar, no shade was provided at the unloading area, forcing the downed cows to endure temperatures of 100 degrees F with no relief. The delegation observed the cattle left in the unloading area until they died or until they could move themselves when the day became cooler.
Many animals arrive at the slaughterhouse seriously injured or dead.
Downed animals must be immediately tended to at the time of unloading. Exhausted animals should be given water and food and be humanely moved to a place of shade to recuperate. Animals suffering from serious injuries, such as a broken limbs, should be promptly and humanely destroyed.
Bukhari and Muslim, compilers of the Prophets authentic ahadith, both report that the Prophet forbade a quadruped or any other animal to be kept waiting for slaughter. Cattle in India are routinely kept waiting long periods before they are finally killed, and their legs are sometimes even intentionally broken and slung around their necks to prevent them from wandering. Throughout this suffering, they are denied food and water.
Much of the slaughter itself is also contrary to Islamic teachings. An hadith reported by Muslim states, "[W]hen you must kill a living being, do it in the proper waywhen you slaughter an animal, use the best method and sharpen your knife so as to cause as little pain as possible." When he saw a man sharpening his knife in the presence of the animal he was to kill, the Prophet said, "Do you intend inflicting death on the animal twiceonce by sharpening the knife within its sight, and once by cutting its throat?" Most cattle killed in India are not afforded the "luxury" of a sharp knife and a quick deadly cut to the jugular. Instead, in smaller slaughterhouses, their throats are sawed and hacked at with dull, small blades. The animals legs are often cut off before the occurrence of death, and sometimes the animals suffer the agony of being skinned alive.
Slaughter is not always better in large export operations. While cattle at these slaughterhouses are sometimes provided with some shade and water, the PETA delegation observed improper and inhumane slaughter. For example, at the Al-Kabeer slaughterhouse in Hyderabad, while the captive-bolt stunning was used properly and effectively prior to slaughter, the delegation found several violations of halal principles. The most flagrant was the savage beating of cattle who were reluctant to move from the holding pen to the killing floor. These cattle were viciously beaten all the way to the stunning area. Such beatings contrast sharply with Islamic teachings. In addition, cattle were killed side-by-side in Al-Kabeer, in full view of one another, in violation of Muslim admonitions to shield the animal from the knowledge of impending death or danger.
The situation was even worse at the Deonar slaughterhouse in Mumbai. Animals driven to this slaughter area were savagely beaten about their legs, neck, and face. These beatings, coupled with the appallingly rough treatment the animals received during transportation, left many of the cattle with open and bleeding wounds all over their bodies. At the actual time of slaughter, the cattle are lined up, bound, and thrown on the floor in full view of all the other animals.
Muslim scholars believe the following seven things need to be done in order for the meat obtained from Indian cattle to be considered halal:
1. The knives used for slaughter should be constantly sharpened and of a sufficient length (a minimum of 18" for cows, 24" for buffaloes).
2. Domestic cattle should not be thrown, but rather walked into a pen and should have their necks raised by a halter to a standing wall hook. With a proper and sharp knife, the cows neck can be almost severed with a simple upward cut, at which time the head should be released from the ring.
3. Beating or striking cattle at any time must be prohibited.
4. Cattle should be held in covered enclosures and be provided with water and food prior to slaughter.
5. Cattle must not be subjected to the cruel practice of tail, or leg-breaking.
6. Cattle must be dead before they are dismembered or skinned.
7. It should be prohibited to torment cattle by rubbing tobacco, salt, chili peppers, or any other substance into their eyes.