A close up of a light brown cow looking directly at the camera.

Halal slaughter in Australia.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated August 11, 2015

There is some misunderstanding around halal slaughter here in Australia. Islamic leaders in Australia largely accept the practice of pre-slaughter stunning, which means from an animal welfare perspective, Halal slaughter need not be any different (nor ‘crueller’) than non-halal slaughter.

In fact, when it comes to the way animals are stunned — the same method (referred to as ‘reversible stunning‘) is used for many animals killed for their meat in Australia. We are advised that all of Australia’s export abattoirs practice pre-slaughter stunning — and they are all ‘halal-certified’.

It is illegal for abattoirs in Australia to slaughter animals without stunning — however, a small number of facilities have been given an exemption in order to practice un-stunned ritual slaughter. This is not only for a small local halal market but also to meet Jewish or ‘kosher’ slaughter requirements.

Animals Australia has been campaigning to close the legal loophole that is allowing non-stun slaughter — both halal and kosher — to occur in several small abattoirs in Australia. We continue to lobby politicians, have held rallies and have provided an online platform for people to make their voices heard on this important issue. Thousands of Australians have already joined our calls to outlaw this cruel practice, and we will continue to campaign against non-stun slaughter until it is outlawed.

‘Humane’ slaughter?

Sadly, what our work and the work of our colleagues from many other organisations has revealed, is that all animals killed in Australian slaughterhouses are at risk of great suffering.

For example, footage from what was considered to be Australia’s ‘most humane’ pig abattoir (which is also the largest pig abattoir in Australia) exposed the horrendous suffering of pigs. This was just one example of how, even in the most ‘well-managed’ facilities using ‘best practice’ methods, there is always a risk that animals will endure distressing and/or prolonged pain and suffering.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A screenshot of cctv footage of a pigs in a slaughterhouse
The vast majority of over 5 million pigs killed for food in Australia each year spend their final moments gasping for air inside a gas chamber. This is not only legal, but the ‘best’ method the pig meat industry has come up with to slaughter pigs.

Time and time again our investigations have revealed that what happens to animals hidden behind the walls of slaughterhouses is far from ‘humane’. This is in part due to a frightening lack of government oversight or effective independent monitoring — however, even the standard practices in Australian slaughterhouses would shock most people.

To learn more about the inherent cruelty involved with the mass slaughter of animals, we encourage you to explore our investigative work in Australian abattoirs and slaughterhouses.

Regardless of whether they are killed in a halal or kosher-approved abattoir or not, the transport and slaughter process animals endure in our current farming systems lead to distress and suffering.

Help create a kinder world for animals

It has never been simpler to help spare animals from the fear and pain of slaughter. By choosing to eat more compassionately, we can shift the demand that leads to thinking, feeling animals being bred only to be killed for food.

Order your free Veg Starter Kit today for all the information you’ll need to fill your plate with delicious, nutritious plant-rich food. If you’re ready to get cooking, you can browse hundreds of recipes at VegKit.com.