pictured here is the kill cone method of slaughter which advocates of humane slaughter tout as the most humane way to kill chickens. [Photo: Free From Harm]
12 Reasons Why I Don’t Believe in Humane Slaughter
The emergence of so-called “humane slaughter” is a positive sign of a growing awareness and concern for animal suffering. It indicates that society is finally acknowledging and taking seriously the fact that animals really do have the capacity to suffer. This in itself is quite a breakthrough in human understanding, considering that we have denied the reality of their suffering for centuries. And it indicates that people really do care and are becoming increasingly aware of how their food choices directly connect to animal suffering. Yet, in the end, the concept of humane slaughter fails in its attempt to fulfill our moral obligation to animals (which I would argue is long overdue). Indeed it falls very short of meeting that obligation for the following 12 reasons:
Humane slaughter assumes that animals do not possess an interest in staying alive. In other words, the assumption is that animals are not conscious or intelligent enough to understand the value of their own lives. Therefore, our moral obligation to animals is simply to minimize the pain and suffering associated with ending their lives. And yet we know, through the best empirical research we have as well as through simple observation, that the opposite is true. Indeed, animals will fight for their lives and for the lives of their offspring, and even for the lives of members of their extended social group, as vociferously as we would fight for our own lives.
Humane slaughter uses the practices of factory farming and industrial slaughterhouses as a moral baseline, that is, the most egregious forms of animal exploitation imaginable. By measuring against the “worst case scenario,” anything looks better. In this case better does not necessarily mean “humane.” Far from it. Why measure against the worst case scenario? If those in the business of humane animal agriculture had a genuine interest in understanding what is “humane,” [continue reading]