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Why does the Halal Standards Committee not accept mechanical slaughter?

10 November 2023

O people! Eat of what is lawful and good on earth, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. He is to you an open enemy (Al-Baqarah, 168).

Automation of production makes the work of any enterprise easier. For example, mechanical slaughter at a poultry farm can increase productivity, reduce personnel costs, and much more. However, mechanical slaughter is not suitable for producing halal meat because the method does not meet all Shariah slaughter conditions.

Conditions of slaughter from the point of view of Islam

There are three main conditions for slaughter according to the canons of Islam:

  1. The person doing the slaughter must be a Muslim;
  2. Before committing slaughter, you need to pronounce the name of God: “Bismillah” (translation: “In the name of Allah”).
  3. The slaughterer should cut the esophagus, trachea and jugular veins with a sharp knife

What is the difference between mechanical slaughter and manual slaughter?

Mechanical slaughter is as follows: prepared live birds are secured by their legs in special tongs-suspensions, then they move along a conveyor to an electrical stunning apparatus and are immobilized (dipped in cold water, into which voltage is applied), after which an incision is made in the neck with a disk knife. The carcasses then go through subsequent processing steps.

In manual halal slaughter, a person personally cuts the bird’s arteries and esophagus with a knife without damaging the bone marrow.

Why is mechanical slaughter not permitted?

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, slaughter according to the canons of Islam presupposes the obligatory interaction of the slaughterer with a tool (knife). In mechanical slaughter, starting the mechanism cannot be considered a direct interaction.

Secondly, during mechanical slaughter the trachea and esophagus are not cut, which contradicts the third condition of slaughter according to Islam.

Thirdly, with mechanical slaughter there is a possibility that the bird will move before the knife passes, then its neck and arteries will not be cut as it should. In manual slaughter, this situation is controlled by the slaughterer.

Fourthly, the name of Allah must be pronounced over each bird before the knife touches its neck. And most importantly, the name of the Almighty can only be pronounced by the slaughterer himself.

The Holy Qur’an says this:

“Do not eat of what is not slaughtered in Allah’s Name. For that would certainly be ?an act of? disobedience. Surely the devils whisper to their ?human? associates to argue with you. If you were to obey them, then you ?too? would be polytheists” (Al-Anam, 121).

Imam Haskafi (may Allah have mercy on him) said about this:

“(For an animal to become permissible), the slaughter of the animal must occur immediately after the recitation of the name of Allah (tasmiyya), so that nothing else is done between these two actions (tabaddul majlis). So, if a person laid two sheep one on top of the other and slaughtered them at the same time, pronouncing the name of Allah once, then both carcasses will be permitted for consumption. But if he slaughters first one and then the other, then (only the first carcass will become permissible). The reason for this is the fact that repetition of the action (slaughter) leads to the need to repeat tasmiyah” (see Radd-ul-Mukhtar ala “Durr-il-Mukhtar”).

Why is halal meat healthier than non-halal meat?

The presence of blood in animal meat negatively affects the quality of the meat – it quickly loses its taste properties and becomes a favorable environment for the proliferation of putrefactive bacteria. Undoubtedly, in non-halal slaughter, bleeding is also an important point in the technological process. However, due to the fact that the mechanical method involves damage to the bone marrow, the blood does not come out completely. In the Halal hand slaughter method, the bone marrow remains unharmed, allowing the blood to leave the animal’s body as quickly and completely as possible.

It follows that mechanical slaughter is not able to satisfy all the requirements of Sharia. That is why the Halal Standards Committee pays special attention to this issue and does not issue certificates to enterprises that are not ready to introduce manual slaughter according to Islamic norms.

Press service of the Halal Standard Committee

Checked by: Ilgiz Bagautdinov, Bulat Mubarakov

Photo: dixinews.ru.