On the 30/5/2011, the ABC program, 4 Corners, ran an expose on the slaughter practices and treatment of Australian export cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.
The exposé documented the practice of tying down the legs of a cow at the top of a small incline, then forcing them to fall over, on hard concrete, onto their sides. From there the cattle were doused with cold water, which had the horribly graphic effect of making the animal repeatedly bash it's head on the concrete slab. Following this, the animal had its throat cut (hacked at several times on this program) until the carotid artery, jugular, trachea and oesophagus were severed. This all occurs while the animal was fully conscious and in clear distress and pain.
While an inquiry has been launched by the Department of Agriculture, and progressive politicians are indeed calling for an end (or at least moratorium) to live cattle export to Indonesia, a taboo topic, which is most salient at this juncture, is being rather nonsensically ignored: These animals are slaughtered according to Islamic (Halal) tradition.
Why is it that not even the journalists of 4 Corners, with their impeccable integrity, could bring themselves to make this connection?
These animals were remorselessly slaughtered in this barbaric fashion, having their throats hacked at until they SLOWLY died from blood loss, for one main reason: Halal.
Dhabiha is the prescribed method of slaughtering all animals. This method consists of using a knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, wind pipe and jugular veins but leaves the spinal cord intact (Source:). These barbaric, nonsensical and utterly morally repugnant methods for slaughter of animals are archaic and cause the animal sincere and prolonged distress prior to death.
Halal meat production is inhumane and must stop, both in Australia, and in all countries receiving live animal exports from Australia.
Let us not forget that only a week ago, the Islamic Council of Australia asked for the government to subsidise Halal butchers. This group would have the Australian people pay for the torturous killing of animals – socialise the cost, privatise the profits, ignore the welfare of the animals.
The solution is simple, any producer of livestock originating from or imported to Australia must be held to Australian abattoir standards. The Australian technique of stunning the animal with an electric shock was found, in a recent study, to be the most humane technique, worldwide. In cases where electric shock is applied, the animal feels no pain and no distress and there is no intrinsic or added cost to the consumer.
While this practice does not conform to Halal standards, this is the salient point; we can not stand against the mistreatment of Australian live export animals, when this same abhorrent practice is allowed to take place in Australia. While in Australia, there is no, or less, mistreatment of the animals prior to the Dhabiha slaughter for Halal meat, to stand against live export but allow the mistreatment of animals in Australia is hypocritical and ultimately unproductive.
Australia, as a major producer for livestock within Australia and exporter of livestock for consumption, has a unique opportunity to change the way that our international customers, and indeed butchers in Australia, treat our animals prior to and during slaughter. If Indonesia and other importers of Australian cattle are unable to comply with Australian standards, then they do not receive live exports from Australia. If Australian Halal butchers and abattoirs are unable to comply with Australian standards, then the practice must be made illegal.
Let's be clear, in Australia, we have access to the education necessary to recognise that if you kill an animal for meat, whether Halal or through Australian standard abattoirs, the meat is NO DIFFERENT. The only difference is this ethereal/supernatural quality of "ritual purity", but it comes at an extremely high moral and ethical cost, animal cruelty, animal suffering.
Stop the live export of livestock, and stop Halal production of meat in Australia. Animals feel the pain of religious slaughter.