Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Several places on the internet seem to purport that animal sacrifice is painless because exsanguination causes no pain. That sounds unscientific to me and an attempt to appease culture than than using science. For instance this question on the se and others like it on the internet. Is there a difference between pig and cow anatomy that makes religious slaughter of the latter less painful?

Could someone comment on the validity of this research?

Schulze W, Schultze-Petzold H, Hazem AS, Gross R. Experiments for the objectification of pain and consciousness during conventional (captive bolt stunning) and religiously mandated (“ritual cutting”) slaughter procedures for sheep and calves. Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift 1978 Feb 5;85(2):62-6.

share|improve this question
    
I just mention this as a tangental point because taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture may be helpful in some way when thinking about animal slaughter methods: human-devised methods are typically a lot less painful than being run to exhaustion, then torn to pieces and eaten alive by a pack of wild hyenas. I imagine being old and decrepit then starving to death is not much fun either. :) –  Beo Jun 6 at 19:01

1 Answer 1

This is of course a controversial topic with there being supporters for both methods of slaughter. First of all, The research paper that you have mentioned is a highly cited one and it is the foremost study that supporters of exanguination use to support their method of slaughter. However, the author himself (Wilhelm Schulze) has stated and I quote

"objective results presented for the captive bolt application in sheep indicates that the captive bolt device used is suspect" and that these initial "scientific findings and the results presented are only a very first contribution" and that they "need to be followed as a high priority by further investigations in the continuation of the scientific clarification of the issues of loss of pain and consciousness during slaughter of this kind with and without stunning using the same experimental approach with a representative number of grown cows of various breeds." (reference)

Since stunning methods have advanced (reference) from the time this paper was published (1978), it would probably be a bit unfair to hold onto this paper as proof for supporting exsanguination. Moreover, in another study, in which measurements were done with an electro-corticogram it was found that

Captive bolt stunning followed by sticking one minute later resulted in immediate and irreversible loss of evoked responses after the stun. Spontaneous cortical activity was lost before sticking in three animals, and in an average of 10 seconds after sticking in the remaining five animals. The duration of brain function after shechita was very variable, and particularly contrasted with captive bolt stunning with respect to the effects on evoked responses. These were lost between 20 and 126 seconds (means of 77 seconds for somatosensory and 55 seconds for visual evoked responses) and spontaneous activity was lost between 19 and 113 seconds (mean 75 seconds) after slaughter (reference).

The two questions that have to be answered in exsanguination are

-- Does the neck cut cause pain?

-- How long does it take for the animal to lose enough blood for insensibility to occur and for any perception of pain or suffering associated with slaughter to disappear?

With regard to pain, in the process of cutting the major blood vessels leading to and from the brain a number of other tissues are also severed by the extensive neck cut including muscle, skin, sensory and motor nerves etc. There is a chance that this might cause significant shock and fear to the animal. The time to lose consciousness is highly variable in exsanguination. (reference)

Very good arguments are presented in this article and I highly recommend that you go through it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.