Halal Science Research & Develeopnent

This page contains summaries of abstracts, pilot projects and useful scientific papers in the field of Halal, quality & welfare. If there are any abstracts that can be added to the list below please get in touch by emailing rizvan@euroqualitylambs.co.uk

Some useful book references

Animal Welfare in Islam by B.A. Masri. (Revised ed.), The Islamic Foundation, Leicester (2007)

The Islamic laws of animal slaughter by Mufti Taqi Usmani, translated into English by A. A. Toft, White Thread Press, A. Toft. California (2006)

Published papers

1. TITLE: A comparison of blood loss during the Halal slaughter of lambs following Traditional Religious Slaughter without stunning, Electric Head-Only Stunning and Post-Cut Electric Head-Only Stunning

Abstract: Blood lost at exsanguination during the Halal slaughter of lambs was compared between the slaughter methods of Traditional Religious Slaughter without stunning (TRS), Electric Head-Only Stunning (EHOS) and Post-Cut Electric Head-Only Stunning (PCEHOS). Two protocols were examined, Experimental (80 lambs) and Commercial (360 lambs), assessing varying periods of animal orientation during the 4 min bleeding process (upright orientation before vertical hanging). Live-weight, blood weight (Experimental only), carcass weights and by-product weights were recorded. The Experimental protocol highlighted an increase in blood loss at 60 s in EHOS and PCEHOS compared to TRS (P < 0.001) but by 90 s there was no significant difference. A post-slaughter change in animal orientation from an upright to a vertical hanging position aided the amount of blood loss. The bleeding of lambs is largely completed by 2 min. There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) in final blood loss between treatments. This research was undertaken to inform discussion on the merits of different slaughter methods compatible with Halal requirements.

Reference: Rizvan Khalid, Toby G Knowles, Steve B Wotton. Published in the journal of Meat Science, volume 110, December 2015, pages 15-23. Open Access: The full paper and results can be seen here www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174015300358 .

2. TITLE: Assessment of the meat quality of lamb M. longissimus thoraciset lumborum and M. triceps brachii following three different Halal slaughter procedures

Abstract: A total of fifteen male and fifteen female lambs were allocated to three groups of ten animals and subjected to: traditional Halal slaughter without stunning (TNS); slaughter following electric head-only stunning (EHOS) or; post-cut electric head-only stun (PCEHOS) and their meat quality was determined. Instrumental and sensory analyses were carried out on two muscles; M. longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) and M. triceps brachii (TB). Additionally, the effects of sex and muscle type were also assessed. No differences were found among slaughter methods for pH, drip loss and shear force. TB had a higher pHu and was more tender than LTL. Muscles from EHOS and PCEHOS lambs discoloured more quickly than TNS muscles. There were no differences in the measured sensory attributes, with the exception of EHOS meat being tougher than PCEHOS and TNS meat. This study showed that the three slaughter methods had no substantial effect on lamb meat quality.

Reference: Danso AS, Richardson RI & Khalid Rizvan. Meat Science, 2017: 127, 6-12.

3. TITLE: A comparison of handling methods relevant to the religious slaughter of sheep

Abstract: Legislation governing non-stun slaughter of sheep in England requires that they are individually and mechanically restrained for slaughter and not moved for at least 20 s post neck cut, until unconsciousness or insensibility occurs. Complying with the need for individual handling, in what is a flock animal, has the potential to adversely affect welfare, in turn contravening the general legislative requirement to reduce any avoidable distress at slaughter. This study investigated the effects of individually loading and restraining lambs compared with the normal practice of group loading and restraint of lambs prior to slaughter when using a V-shaped restrainer. Rotating and static design loading pens were also compared to represent the range of conditions and facilities found across English abattoirs. Plasma cortisol and lactate concentrations were significantly lower in group-loaded animals and significant reductions were observed in the time duration of a range of components of handling as well as the average total time to load each lamb. Loading pen type had a less marked impact upon results, however, individual loading and restraint of lambs within a V-shaped restrainer appears particularly stressful for sheep in comparison with group loading. The loading pen type had a mixed effect although the rotating crowding pen is likely to have minimised physical exertion in lambs during loading and restraint. Based on these findings, group loading in a V-shaped restrainer, whilst complying with the 20-s standstill, is likely to be preferable in religious, non-stun slaughter of sheep.

Reference: Bates LSW, Ford EA, Brown SN, Richards GJ, Hadley PJ, Wotton SB & Knowles TG.  Animal Welfare, 2014: 23, 251-258.

4. TITLE: The evaluation of two commercial electric sheep stunning systems: current applied and the effect on heart function

Abstract: The maintenance of head-only minimum stunning currents for sheep to ≥ 1.0 Amp as per current legislation was examined in two trials in a commercial abattoir. In the first trial, a Jetco MS100 stunner failed to maintain the current to > 1.0 Amp in 118 of the 228 sheep. In a second trial, a Jetco MS105 delivered sufficient current in all sheep (n = 275) to meet the legislative requirement, apart from a single animal. Recorded electrocardiograms showed a regular heartbeat, with no evidence of ventricular fibrillation, in all animals in both trials following stunning and neck-cut. Only one of the two stun units may therefore be considered to meet the statutory requirements but both may meet the requirements for halal slaughter where pre-stun is considered acceptable.

Reference: Orford F, Ford EA, Brown SN, McKinstry J, Hadley PJ, Lines JA, Knowles TG & Wotton SB.  Animal Welfare, 2016: 25, 331-337.

5. TITLE: Halal stunning and slaughter: Criteria for the assessment of dead animals

Abstract: The debate surrounding the acceptability of stunning for Halal slaughter is one that is likely to linger. Compared to a couple of decades or so ago, onemay argue that pre-slaughter stunning is becoming a popular practice during Halal slaughter due to the increasing number of Muslim-majority countries who continue to issue religious rulings (Fatwa) to approve the practice. Concerns have often, however been raised about the likelihood of some animals dying as a result of stunning and whether there are mechanisms in place to identify and remove dead animals stunned with irreversible techniques before their necks are cut. This paper reviews literature about what makes meat Halal, considers the arguments put forward by proponents and opponents of pre-slaughter stunning for Halal production and examines the criteria used by Halal Certification Bodies to identify and reject animals that may die as a result of irreversible stunning and considers the specific risks of waterbath stunning (for poultry) from a Halal viewpoint.

Reference: Fuseini A, Knowles TG, Hadley PJ & Wotton SB. Meat Science, 2017: 119, 132-137.

6. TITLE: Electroencephalographic studies of stunning and slaughter of sheep and calves: Part 1 – The onset of permanent insensibility in sheep during slaughter

Abstract: The time of onset of permanent insensibility, subsequent to incision of the major neck vessels of the neck, was studied in sixteen adult sheep and five one-week-old lambs. Insensibility was determined from the study of electroencephalograms (EEG) and interpretation was based on the amplitude and pattern of fast wave signals of a transhemispheric bipolar derivation. In both the adult sheep and lambs, conscious at the time of slaughter, insensibility occurred within 2 to 7 s and EEG traces become isoelectric between 10 and 43 s. In sheep which were lightly anaesthetised at the time of slaughter, EEG traces because isoelectric between 18 and 70 s after incision of the major blood vessels of the neck. In one sheep which was slaughtered by severance of the carotid artery and jugular vein on one side of the neck only, the onset of insensibility was delayed for 29 s. In the majority of animals, the electrocardiogram (ECG) continued to show a normal pattern for more than 10 min after slaughter. There was an initial rise in blood pressure in the first 5 to 7 s and it remained elevated for a further 10 to 20 s. The results of this work are discussed with reference to definition of death appropriate for statutory purposes and the implications for the humane slaughter of sheep.

Reference: Newhook JC & Blackmore DK. Meat Science, 1982: 6, 221-233.

7. TITLE: Sheep slaughtering procedures 2. Time to loss of brain response after exsanguination or cardiac arrest

Abstract: The time taken for three different sticking (exsanguination) methods to produce a loss of flash-evoked responsiveness in the electrocorticogram of anaesthetized sheep was compared with a method involving fibrillation of the heart. On average, severing both carotid arteries plus jugular veins took 14 sec to induce a loss of brain responsiveness, whereas severing only one carotid artery plus one jugular vein took 70 sec. Corticol responsiveness lasted for about 5 min when only the jugular veins were cut, whereas it lasted for 28 sec after the induction of cardiac fibrillation. It is concluded that a sheep slaughtering method which stuns the brain and at the same time fibrillates the heart could be more humane than some of the conventional slaughtering methods.

Reference: Gregory NG & Wotton SB. British Veterinary Journal, 1984: 140, 354.

8. TITLE: The perception and acceptability of pre-slaughter and post-slaughter stunning for Halal production: The views of UK Islamic scholars and Halal consumers

Abstract: The importance of religious slaughter from economic, emotive and ethical viewpoints is significant. There are apparent economic benefits associated with trading in meats slaughtered according to religious traditions. Some religious authorities insist on the slaughter of animals without stunning , but this, according to many researchers compromises animal welfare. We conducted a survey of Islamic scholars and Halal consumers, 66 scholars from 55 organisations and 314 consumers from 54 UK cities/towns were surveyed. Forty-nine scholars were interviewed through pre-arranged meetings, 17 surveyed online whilst all 314 consumers were either surveyed online or through the remote completion of copies of the questionnaire. Most of the scholars (>95%) (CI 86.9 to 98.4%) agreed that if an animal is stunned and then slaughtered by a Muslim and the method of stunning does not result in death, cause physical injury or obstruct bleed-out, the meat would be Halal and 53% (CI 47 to 58%) consumers also thought such meat would be Halal.

Reference: Fuseini A, Wotton SB, Hadley PJ & Knowles TG. Meat Science, 2017: 123, 143-150.

9. TITLE: Halal Meat Fraud and Safety Issues in the UK: a Review in the Context of the European Union

Abstract: Since the discovery of horsemeat in some processed beef products in early 2013, there has been increased speciation testing of products of meat origin within the EU. This led to the detection of porcine DNA and subsequently pork meat in some processed Halal products in the UK. This situation caused a great deal of panic and distress among the UK Muslim population, as the consumption of pork or its derivatives is strictly forbidden in Islam. This paper considers what makes meat Halal and discusses existing gaps in Halal certification and the regulation of Halal meat that potentially expose the Halal market to fraudulent activity.

Reference: Fuseini A, Wotton SB, Knowles TG & Hadley PJ. Food Ethics 2017. http://www.springer.com/-/2/AVnnZMqCBAK9zfPtASBY (Free Access)