Standards developed for the slaughter of livestock without stunning

A public consultation is requested on the practice of slaughtering animals without first stunning them.

Animal slaughter processes for halal and kosher markets do not allow stunning in accordance with religious belief. The market for this meat is growing, but there is no national standard in Canada for acceptable practices.

“What is acceptable may vary between provinces or even between slaughterhouses within the same province,” said Jane Pritchard, chair of the group responsible for developing standards for non-stunning slaughter.

“Provincial, territorial and federal governments have been urged to develop a cohesive approach to ensuring animal welfare and respecting religious requirements,” she said in a statement.

Draft standards developed so far are open for public comment until January 27. It aims to clarify acceptable practices for the slaughter of halal and kosher animals.

The project deals with mammals and birds and provides information on the types of restraints, the types of tools to use and the use of stunning after the administration of a fatal cut.

Loss of sensitivity in animals, and how to reach and confirm it, is covered in detail.

According to the Halal Certification Department, stunning is not allowed before slaughter, and a sharp knife should be used by an adult Muslim to sever the trachea, alimentary tract, and jugular veins with one stroke. The name of Allah must be invoked at the time of the massacre.

Other rules require that slaughter take place out of sight of other animals awaiting slaughter and that unnecessary suffering of the animal is avoided.

The kosher slaughter process is similar. It must be done by a Jewish person trained in the process, but it does not include any ceremony or religious invocation. Electric shock of the animal before slaughter is prohibited, as is the administration of an anesthetic.

The draft code of practice and the opportunity to provide comments are available at

Contact [email protected]

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