How does Meat become Halal?

Slaughtering – Animals allowed by the Quran – According to Islam

This is an important piece of information especially for the Muslim woman, who in many cases, are in charge of cooking and preparing food for the family.  The Halal-ness of the food then falls on the Muslima.  So, let’s pay close attention on how that chicken or cow or fish are slaughtered to then ask prudent questions at our local butcher!

In a modern slaughter house, considering the number of animals slaughtered at a time, especially slaughtering of chickens, slaughtering is often done by using the machine. Some scholars allow the slaughtering to use the machine as long as recite basmalah for each animal or allow read basmalah at the beginning. However, some scholars do not allow the slaughtering to use the machine. Slaughtering must be done manually and by reading basmalah. Fortunately, for large animals such as cows and goats, slaughtering is usually done one by one manually, although aided by a tool to facilitate the slaughtering of the animals.

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In slaughtering there is a process known as the so-called stunning, which is a way to weaken the animal before slaughtering, the animasl are expected in a state of calm, and animals do not move much. This method is believed by some people can produce a better quality meat. There are some stunning ways that are usually applied, i.e.,  the use of a CO2 gas stream, the use of electric shock, and the most widely performed is by shooting the head, which is usually for large animals such as cows and goats. For chicken there are two ways, the first is electrical stunning, in which the chicken is passed in the water by electricity, and gas stunning (using CO2). Other reason of stunning done before slaughtering is more humane to slaughter because the animal feels a little rebel.

Some scholars allow stunning prior to slaughtered, however still more scholars that do not allow stunning for both small animals (chickens) and large animals (cows and goats). Scholars who permit stunning require that animals do not die before slaughter. But nowadays, many reports stated that some animals may die before being slaughtered,forthe chicken, it is about 10-35%, one source said. This happens because in fact the strength of each animal to the stunning process is highly variable, influenced by the animal’s body condition, age, etc. There is possibility that animal more likely to die before slaughter.

How does Meat become Halal? BiyyaYK Smblh1The author’s own experiences as witnessed in some of the cattle slaughtering abattoir in Argentina, Australia and Indonesia observed that cattle possibly died after stunning and before slaughtering. This was seen when we compared the cows slaughtered with and wituout stunning before slaughtering. In fact, when stunning is done before slaughtering, the cow blood is not fresh, the colour of the blood coming out from the cow is not red but it varies from red brown to dark brown. The release of the blood is also not as smooth and as many as cows slaughtered without stunning.

Some explained that this issue depends on the stunning technique. However, given the resilience of each animal is varied, the risk of death after stunning and before the slaughtering is still high.

The reason that stunning can soften the meat and the slaughter seems to be more humane, were refuted by the results of experiments conducted by Professor Schultz and his colleague Dr.Hazim of the Hanover University, Germany. They found that slaughter without stunning actually causes the animal feels no pain and the blood can come out more perfect than the slaughter that was preceded by a stunning. This is because after stunning the animals are instantly unconscious. Animals feel heavy pain after a stunning and blood more restrained in the animal’s body. From this fact and from what has been stated above, the author is more amenable to the opinion which does not allow for stunning before slaughtering.

Source: Potency of non-halal food products, and issues on genetically modified food, by Anton Apriyantono


Dr. Anton Apriyantono

The author is the father of one child who live in Indonesia. Graduated Bachelor in Agricultural Technology IPB, Indonesia. Master in Food Science IPB, Indonesia, PhD in Food Chemistry Reading University, UK. He is a lecturer in the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, IPB. Has served as minister of agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia. Being auditor Research Institute for Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Indonesian Ulama Council. Chairman of the trustees of Halalan Thoyiban Foundation, and more activities in various organizations related to the field of da'wah, and consumption of halal food.

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