This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

A dispensation to cause pain

Thanks to LWS for the link.

The ritual slaughter of animals decreed by Jewish and Muslim dietary laws require that the animals are conscious when they have their throats slit. In the European secular food industry, regulations strive to minimise "the risk of causing pain, fear or distress to the animals" in their being slaughtered for food. Crucially, these rules require the stunning of animals before being killed, either with a bolt to the brain, or with electricity. However, the law kowtows before the Jewish kashrut and Islamic halal guidelines in permitting avoidance of stunning.

This week New Zealand veterinarian scientist Craig Johnson was given an award from the Humane Slaughter Association, for his body of work that demonstrates that animals suffer more without stunning. In one crucial experiment, Johnson et al administered mild anaesthetics to calves so that they could not feel the pain of the incision, but the pain response was still measurable. It remained present in the animals without stunning, but was immediately erased by stunning.

"I think our work is the best evidence yet that it's painful", Johnson told New Scientist. While this may appear to come from the oft-referenced University of the Bleeding Obvious, in fact defenders of Jewish shechita and Muslim dhabiha slaughter cite scientific evidence that the practice is not painful to the animal. In 2003, the Muslim Council of Great Britain claimed that "the brain is instantaneously starved of blood and there is no time to start feeling any pain." Johnson's work says otherwise.
Continue reading



It's What Moral Philosophers Do

Richard Dawkins - Comments

It's What Moral Philosophers Do

Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Carson - Reasons for God 264 Comments

What kind of meta-ethical foundation has Dawkins provided for his ‘moral home’?

The Moral Necessity of a Godless...

Tauriq Moosa - big think 78 Comments

The Moral Necessity of a Godless Existence

UPDATED: Why I want all our children to...

Richard Dawkins - The Observer 197 Comments

Whatever else the Bible might be – and it really is a great work of literature – it is not a moral book and young people need to learn that important fact because they are very frequently told the opposite.

Who matters (or should) when scientists...

Janet D. Stemwedel - Scientific... 7 Comments

Who matters (or should) when scientists engage in ethical decision-making?

Bioethicist Richard Dawkins: Morality,...

Sean DeButts - BellevuePatch 36 Comments

Bioethicist Richard Dawkins: Morality, Society Can Be "Intelligently Designed"



Ending the Wedge

Adam Rutherford - New Humanist Comments

A recognised creationist tactic involves scoring minor victories against the teaching of evolution, and recent controversies over free schools and the Giant’s Causeway suggest it is succeeding in the UK. It’s time the strategy was exposed

Synthetic biology and the rise of the...

Adam Rutherford - The Guardian 17 Comments

Adam Rutherford, left, and Randy Lewis
milk Freckles, the silk-producing goat.
Photograph: BBC

Science, atheism and ironed trousers

Adam Rutherford - 11 Comments

Dawkins takes on the ex-bishop

Adam Rutherford 37 Comments



Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment