Public consultation is being sought on the practice of slaughtering animals without stunning them first.
Animal slaughter processes for the halal and kosher markets do not allow stunning in accordance with religious belief. The market for such meat is growing, but there is no national standard in Canada for acceptable practices.
“What is acceptable can vary between provinces or even among slaughter facilities within the same province,” said Jane Pritchard, chair of the group charged with developing standards for slaughter without stunning.
“Provincial, territorial and federal governments have been asked to develop a consistent approach to ensure animal welfare and respect religious requirements,” she said in a news release.
A draft of standards so far developed is open for public comment until Jan. 27. It is intended to clarify acceptable practices for halal and kosher animal slaughter.
The draft deals with mammals and birds and gives information on types of restraint, types of tools to be used and the use of stunning after a lethal cut is administered.
Loss of animals’ sensibility, and how to achieve and confirm it, is dealt with in detail.
According to the department of halal certification, stunning is not allowed before slaughter, and a sharp knife must be used by an adult Muslim to sever the windpipe, food tract and jugular veins using one stroke. The name of Allah must be invoked at time of slaughter.
Other rules require that the slaughter take place out of sight of other animals waiting to be slaughtered and that unnecessary suffering of the animal must be avoided.
The process for kosher slaughter is similar. It must be done by a Jewish person trained in the process, but it does not include any religious ceremony or invocation. Electrical shock of the animal before slaughter is prohibited, as is administration of an anesthetic.
The draft code of practice and avenue for providing input can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/swose.