Halal slaughter

Halal slaughter is the method of slaughtering animals for meat prescribed by Muslim holy law as set out in the Koran. It involves cutting the throat of the animal so as to bring about rapid, complete bleeding and the quickest death possible.

Stunning prior to slaughter is generally not the practice. However, non-penetrating stunning that causes concussion before slaughter has received approval from some Muslim authorities. Electric stunning of cattle and sheep is used in many Muslim slaughter plants in New Zealand and Australia. Ritual slaughter is generally only exempted from stunning, but has to abide by other regulations.

The most important requirements of halal slaughter are:
  • The animal should be healthy and without injuries
  • The animal should be treated with respect and sympathy
  • No animal should see another animal die
  • The slaughter should be done by a practicing Muslim
  • A blessing should be given before the cut
  • Animals and slaughter men are faced towards Mecca
  • A sharp instrument, usually a knife, should be used to slaughter the animal in a single, unbroken move
  • The oesophagus, trachea and jugular vein should be cut without damaging the spinal marrow
  • The blood should be totally drained
Slaughter gently but firmly by holding animal’s head back, and in a quick, single cut move across animal’s throat just below the jawbone, cutting the windpipe, esophagus, arteries and veins forward of the neckbone. Photo: Tatiana Stanton