Holland Debates Banning Ritual Slaughter

Laurens Peters

Approximately 2 million animals are slaughtered in the Netherlands without stunning each year. This number is composed mainly of poultry, but also of large numbers of sheep and cattle. Although Dutch and European laws generally prohibit slaughter without stunning, exception is granted to ritual slaughter, practiced by parts of the Jewish and Muslim communities. In 2008, the Royal Dutch Veterinary Society published a report proving that this practice causes the animals to experience much stress and unacceptable suffering (video produced by the Party for the Animals, contains shocking footage).

This month, the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch Lower House of Parliament) completed a first reading of a bill to prohibit ritual slaughter, i.e. to make the existing ban on slaughter without prior stunning absolute. The bill was introduced by the Dutch Party for the Animals (PvdD), which holds two seats in the House. Although the proposal is likely to be adopted, it has received plenty of media attention. The discussion has been focused on the clash of fundamental rights and values. Continue reading

Amidst All the Slaughter — Abuse. Who Knew?

David Cassuto

Photo by Scott Nelson for the New York Times

From the morbid irony desk:

In this article about the demoralizing struggles of an animal activist in the Arab world, we learn that:

At the Basateen slaughterhouse, near the vast cemetery known as the City of the Dead, butchers stride about in knee-high rubber boots, surrounded by lakes of feces, blood and urine. It was here that [an] Australian reporter documented animal abuses in 2006.

I know I was shocked to learn that in a slaughterhouse located in the City of the Dead — amid butchers wading through lakes of feces, blood, and urine — some animal abuses were committed.  Shocked, I tell you.

On Autism, Activism, Compassion, Love and Slaughter

Bridget Crawford

Bitch Magazine has a critical post (here) inspired by the Temple Grandin HBO biopic starring Claire Danes.  Here is an excerpt of the review by Brittany Shoot:

I wondered why Grandin, understanding how out of control factory farming has gotten in the last forty years (thanks in part to her own work?), has continued her work in the same field without reevaluating present conditions. Coming from such an intelligent person, her striking lack of analysis troubled me.  Continue reading

Newborn Calves Abused at Organic Farm

Elizabeth Bennett

Unfortunately, allegations of animal abuse at slaughterhouses have long been prevalent.  It is not, however, too often that you hear of a farm or company being punished for such cruel behavior.  Recently, an organically certified Vermont slaughterhouse called Bushway Packing Inc. was ordered to close because of their inhumane treatment of calves.  An undercover agent for the Humane Society of the United States captured various forms of animal abuse at this slaughterhouse on video.  According to the humane society, slaughterhouse employees were kicking calves, electrically prodding them, wetting them with water so that electric prodding would be more painful, improperly rendering them senseless before slaughter, and even skinning them alive.  These are typical abuse allegations against slaughterhouses commonly made by animal welfarist and rights advocates that are all too often ignored.

The calves processed at Bushway Packing were born on dairy farms and immediately torn from their mothers so that the mother’s milk would not be wasted on them.  This rendered many of them weak and unable to walk.  They were then physically abused into standing and walking so that employees can avoid prohibitions on slaughtering “downed cows.”   These calves were being produced as “bob veal,” where they were killed when less than a week old to be used in food items such as hot dogs and lunch meats, unlike regular veal production which “harvests” calves at around 4 months of age.  Keep in mind that supporting the dairy industry is, in a way, supporting the veal and bob veal industries because of the need to take calves away from their dairy cow mothers so that all their mother’s milk can be processed for human use.  Male calves are a byproduct of the dairy industry and are thus put to use in the veal industry.  For this very reason, dairy farmers were greatly worried about their financial stability in the wake of this story.   Continue reading

Talking Turkey and the Sanctimony of American Slaughter

Christine Saenz

It’s that time of year again. A time when 45 million turkeys are slaughtered, stuffed, and feasted upon for Thanksgiving dinners across the U.S. According to PETA and other sources, this 45 million makes up 1/6 of the number of turkeys killed each year in America. While many animal rights groups will be imploring President Obama to pardon all turkeys this season, you shouldn’t have to worry about a protest stampeding across your lawn if you partake in this gluttonous “tradition.” Apparently the protestors and news media outlets will be thoroughly preoccupied with the Hindu Gadhimai festival in Nepal, where, every 5 years, 200,000+ animals are ritualistically sacrificed to bring peace and prosperity to devotees.

Last week, an organizing committee member defending the ritual stated, “We will not stop this centuries-old tradition now. This is our religion, belief and tradition and we will continue with it no matter what.” Sound familiar? The 45 million turkeys slaughtered in the U.S. this year will die in the name of our own time-honored beliefs and traditions. On one end of the world, hundreds of thousands of buffaloes, pigs, sheep, birds, and goats (to name just a few) will have their throats slit by priests and their carcasses distributed to devotees after the festival. In our own country, hundreds of millions of turkeys will live their lives in tightly-packed, windowless “houses,” hung upside down in shackles (alive), mercilessly slaughtered, and decorated on dining room tables.

Continue reading