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Britain May Ban Muslim And Jewish Animal Slaughter Methods

LONDON, U.K., May 17, 2003: The British Government appears ready to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning them. This would affect the supply of halal meat (animals that are slaughtered according to the Islamic sharia law.) For the last few years, authorities have gone out of their way to accommodate the request by the Muslim community to provide only halal meat for Muslim students in schools and even for Muslim convicts serving jail sentences. Under a new proposal to be put forward next month, Jewish and Muslim communities would lose the legal right to slaughter animals without stunning them. The communities have reacted angrily saying that such a ban would end thousands of years of religious rites. Under the European Union animal welfare regulations, all farm animals must be stunned before slaughter, unless they are killed by religious methods as halal for Muslims and schechita for Jews. Both methods involve religiously trained slaughter men using sharp knives to cut throats and let the animal bleed to death. The Farm Animal Welfare Council, appointed and funded by the government, has concluded a study that finds Jewish and Muslim methods of slaughter inhumane because it takes two minutes or more for the animal to lose consciousness.

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