“More and more halal slaughterhouses are adopting the practice of stunning cattle during slaughter,” Dutch animal welfare organization Eyes on Animals said after returning from visiting slaughterhouses in Turkey.
The organization focuses on reducing the suffering of animals at farms and slaughterhouses.
“Eight years ago, there was not a single slaughterhouse in Turkey rendering animals unconscious before slaughter,” Lesley Moffat, the director of Eyes on Animals, said, adding that they saw horrible things back then.
Moffat said they witnessed injured animals being dragged out of trucks alive, lifted by one leg off the floor, large bulls tied up, and animals’ throats cut with knives that were not long or sharp enough at halal slaughterhouses.
“It was a long path of patience and education, but I am so happy to be able to tell you that things are speeding up now,” Moffat said, adding that they now have “16 cattle slaughterhouses and two sheep slaughterhouses equipped and using stunners” in Turkey.
“That means tens of thousands of animals each year will at least be rendered unconscious before they are being slaughtered. That makes a huge difference for these poor animals!” Moffat said.
Animals at these 18 Turkish slaughterhouses are now first stunned to render them unconscious before their throat is slit, which minimizes the animals’ suffering.
“Most of my work is about spreading the word because there are so many misconceptions about halal slaughter,” Asalet Sancakdaroğlu, the Turkish representative of Eyes on Animals, told news outlet The Guardian.
“People are afraid that it is somehow not acceptable to God if the animal is unconscious or that the blood won’t drain properly,” he added.
But that fear is taken away during Eyes on Animals workshops. “Several religious leaders have taken what I said seriously and told their followers about stunning animals first: last year Ismailağa Cemaati publicly announced that stunning animals is halal.”