Ian Dunt tells us that "The debate over animal welfare is misguided. Where human need clashes with animal rights, humans must take precedence." (1)
I agree that our needs must take precedence over the needs of an animal; however, I disagree that an animal has rights. "Rights are ethical principles applicable only to beings capable of reason and choice" (2).
Further down in his comment Ian Dunt concludes:
So the arguments about which method of slaughter is more humane are entirely irrelevant to me. Muslims and Jews are entitled to slaughter animals for food in any way they choose. Not because of their religion, but because of their status as human beings."
I disagree; I do not believe religious organizations have a right to slaughter animals for food in any way they choose. I eat meat; I love eating meat; no human being should be prevented from eating meat, but if a religious method of animal slaughter inflicts more suffering than some other, more humane method of slaughter than that religion should be forced to abide by, or accommodate to, the more humane method.
An animal welfare group in the UK wants animals stunned before they are ritually killed (3). I don't see the problem in this as long as animal activists don't try to ban animal slaughter altogether. Visitors to my site who have read my articles on PETA know that I would sooner roast a PETA person than a chicken.
One of the reasons that I am an atheist is precisely because I cannot believe in an entity that would create a world where we slaughter animals for food; it seems so unmerciful, so uncompassionate. If I were God mankind would receive sustenance through photosynthesis.
But what God failed to do, mankind will one day correct. I have no doubt that in the future, we will manufacture steaks from plants that taste just as juicy and delicious as from beef. Of course, this assumes that PETA doesn't transmogrify into PPPP (People for the Prevention of Pain to Plants).
Halal Focus, Animal rights are less important than human rights
This week MEPs in the European parliament voted to allow the continued slaughter of animals under Muslim and Jewish practices – called halal and shechita respectively.
There is an animal welfare argument in all this. Religious commentators say the more traditional techniques used by their respective faith are actually more humane than the mass-production methods used across Britain. Animal rights activists cite the lack of a stun gun in the process, which instantly makes the animal unconscious before slaughter.
Both these stances leave me distinctly unmoved. I remain entirely indifferent to the suffering of animals as a political issue. That's not to advocate cruelty. I would, of course, like all animals to be killed as humanely as scientifically possible. They should never undergo any further suffering than that necessary to support human needs. But when it comes to weighing animal rights and human needs, there's no contest.
There is a certain cruelty in many animal rights activists – and their sympathisers – who value animal life to the point where they, consciously or subconsciously, rate it over humans. In a world with so much human suffering - where people starve to death in what's still, laughably, called the 'developing' world, where children die because the only hospitals they have do not have the materials necessary to treat them - I find it staggering that anyone could dedicate their efforts to animals.
So the arguments about which method of slaughter is more humane are entirely irrelevant to me. Muslims and Jews are entitled to slaughter animals for food in any way they choose. Not because of their religion, but because of their status as human beings.
Ayn Rand Institute, Animal "Rights" and the New Man Haters
There is only one fundamental right: a man's right to his own life. To live successfully, man must use his rational faculty—which is exercised by choice. The choice to think can be negated only by the use of physical force. To survive and prosper, men must be free from the initiation of force by other men—free to use their own minds to guide their choices and actions. Rights protect men against the use of force by other men.
None of this is relevant to animals. Animals do not survive by rational thought (nor by sign languages allegedly taught to them by psychologists). They survive through inborn reflexes and sensory-perceptual association. They cannot reason. They cannot learn a code of ethics. A lion is not immoral for eating a zebra (or even for attacking a man). Predation is their natural and only means of survival; they do not have the capacity to learn any other.
Only man has the power to deal with other members of his own species by voluntary means: rational persuasion and a code of morality rather than physical force. To claim that man's use of animals is immoral is to claim that we have no right to our own lives and that we must sacrifice our welfare for the sake of creatures who cannot think or grasp the concept of morality. It is to elevate amoral animals to a moral level higher than ourselves—a flagrant contradiction. Of course, it is proper not to cause animals gratuitous suffering. But this is not the same as inventing a bill of rights for them—at our expense.
The granting of fictional rights to animals is not an innocent error. We do not have to speculate about the motive, because the animal "rights" advocates have revealed it quite openly. Again from PETA: "Mankind is the biggest blight on the face of the earth"; "I do not believe that a human being has a right to life"; "I would rather have medical experiments done on our children than on animals." These self-styled lovers of life do not love animals; rather, they hate men.
The Independent, End 'cruel' religious slaughter, say scientists
Religious slaughter techniques practised by Jews and Muslims are cruel and should be ended, says a scientific assessment from the Government's animal welfare advisers.
The Farm Animal Welfare Council says that slitting the throats of the animals most commonly used for meat, chickens, without stunning, results in "significant pain and distress". The committee, which includes scientific, agricultural and veterinary experts, is calling for the Government to launch a debate with Muslim and Jewish communities to end the practice.
They are granted an exemption to the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, which stipulates that creatures such as cows, goats and chickens be stunned first.
In a report into the slaughter of white meat, the Farm Animal Welfare Council (Fawc) said evidence suggested that chicken and turkeys were likely to be conscious for up to 20 seconds as blood seeped out of them. The animals are killed by a transverse incision across their neck, cutting skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and major nerves.
While recognising the difficulties of reconciling scientific findings with matters of faith, it urged the Government to "continue to engage with religious communities" to make progress. In a 2003 report on red meat, Fawc called for ministers to repeal the religious groups' legal opt-out.