Before exsanguination, the fatal bleeding out of animals by way of throat cutting or chest sticking in the meat production process, government regulations worldwide approve of a variety of methods to induce unconsciousness before animals are slaughtered.
The following are government-pronounced humane methods for rendering non-human animals unconscious to reduce fear and pain before slaughter:
- Forcing an animal to enter a stun box or restrainer before gunshot, non-penetrating force causes trauma to the cortex, or a steel bolt is driven into the brain;
- Applying electric current as a surgical anesthesia;
- Driving or conveying animals into a carbon dioxide chamber to induce surgical anesthesia.
Plain and simple, (without counterproductive arguments about anti-semitism, references to Nazism, the Holocaust, and engaging in relentless and pointless arguments about what is or is not a humane method of slaughter):
Banning ritual slaughter violates human rights and freedom of religion. It is outright speciesism to target, attack, and ban ritual slaughter, both the Jewish laws of Shechita and the Islamic laws of Dhabihah.
The United States code, for example, fully recognizes ritual slaughter as humane and further protects religious freedom to perform ritual slaughter.
If veganism truly transcends politics and religion because it rejects prejudice in all of its manifestations - speciesism - then vegan animal rights activists must not regard religion as an adversary or judge religion as inhumane and unconcerned for animals.
As much as possible, both the secular and religious world should unite for the common cause of compassion and eliminating the overabundance of cruelty to companion animals, wildlife, and farm animals.
“Anyone familiar with the widespread mistreatment of animals on factory farms would have a hard time claiming that there is any humaneness related to the production of meat and other animal products,” states Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., President Emeritus of Jewish Vegetarians of North America and Co-founder and Coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians, an Interfaith Peace Effort Pursuing Plant-based, Nonviolent Nutrition.
Judaism speaks to all aspects of life, clearly forbidding any display of cruelty toward animals, and teaches the multiple aspects of living a cruelty-free lifestyle. Schwartz eloquently states in his essay, Eighteen Reasons Jews Shouldn't Be Vegetarians (And Why They're Wrong):
“It is the Torah, not animal rights groups, which is the basis for observing how far current animal treatment has strayed from fundamental Jewish values.”
Although the Jewish Vegetarians of North America opposes all forms of animal slaughter for food, Schwartz emphasizes, “We object when shechita, Jewish ritual slaughter, is singled out for special criticism or banning.”
Shechita was designed to minimize pain; however, it is the larger scope of continuous suffering and mistreatment on factory farms that should be addressed.
“Our basic message is the same for all Jews,” Schwartz says. “Would God want us to have a diet that harms our health, horrendously mistreats billions of farm animals, devastates the environment, wastes vast amounts of land, grain, water and energy, and contributes to widespread hunger, violence, and injustice?”
And God said, "Behold, I have given you every seed bearing herb, which is upon the surface of the entire earth, and every tree that has seed bearing fruit; it will be yours for food. (Genesis 1:29)
“There has been progress as some Jews have become vegetarian or reduced their consumption of meat and become more aware of the health, environmental, and other implications of animal-based diets,” Schwartz notes.
“But, there is still a long way to go as the vast majority of Jews and others still eat meat and other animal products. Few rabbis or other Jews are addressing the many serious contradictions between animal-based diets and Jewish teachings.”
Schwartz, who works primarily with Jewish Vegetarians of North America, also engages with Jewish Vegetarian Society groups in Israel, and England. In the United States, Schwartz collaborates with Shamayim V'Aretz Institute and Jews for Animal Rights.