Study finds similar blood levels in halal, schechita and ordinary meats

New research, reported in The Times, shows similar blood levels in ordinary meat and meat from animals killed by shechita and halal methods.

The research, conducted by academic psychiatrist Colin Brewer and consultant pathologist Peter Osin, compared halal and kosher beef with ordinary beef and a piece of venison from a shot deer.

According to their faith, Jews and Muslims are forbidden from consuming blood. However, Brewer and Osin reported microscopic slides of ordinary beef and halal and kosher beef all retained similar amounts of red blood cells.

Halal and kosher meat has been the subject of controversy from an animal welfare point of view as animals must not be stunned prior to slaughter. As reported by The Times, Osin, who comes from a Jewish family concluded: “If ritual slaughter not only causes levels of avoidable pain and distress to meat animals… but also fails in its stated purpose of removing as much blood as possible, compared with other methods, then it becomes more difficult to justify and defend.”

Meanwhile Brewer, also Jewish, said: “Our paper may be the first to note that even when animals are shot and then not bled for several hours, if at all, there is no more blood in their meat than after conventional or ritual slaughter.”

However, Saqib Mohammed, chief executive officer at the Halal Food Authority, said the report was positive news for the halal trade as it undermined the religious argument against pre-stunning by showing it did not have an adverse affect on blood loss.

“We are keen to use the scientific developments to facilitate the global halal trade supporting the welfare of animals. To this end, this new study would enhance industry’s confidence on controlled reversible stunning of poultry and ovine animals, while also satisfying the concerns of many Muslims who had their reservations on the concept of pre-stunning on the count of blood loss.”

Similarly, Doctor Phil Hadley, senior regional manager at Eblex, highlighted how The Times article suggested blood loss was the most important regarding halal and kosher meat. “This is not the case; blood loss is just one component of halal and kosher meat.

“The article informs the debate surrounding religious slaughter of meat and allows consumers to make informed decisions about their own personal preferences,” he concluded.

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