Vegetarianism vs non-vegetarianism
Before deciding on humane and inhumane methods of slaughtering animals, let us see the various types of ritualistic slaughter:–
1. JEWISH KOSHER
The animal has to be alive, hale and hearty. Only a trained Jew has to perform the slaughter in the appropriate ritual manner. The length of the blade used for slaughtering has to be twice the width of the animal’s neck. The animal has to be restrained without injuring it. An animal injured during restraining is no longer fit for slaughter. The blade of the knife must be sharp and even. The esophagus, trachea, carotid arteries, and jugular veins must be cut in one quick slash. Blood must be drained out of the slaughtered animal. In other words, the slaughtered animal has to bleed to death. Essential organs of the animal, whether cows, sheep, goats, etc., must be examined to make sure there are no defects. The lungs must be checked for signs of lung disease. If there are holes or signs of lung disease, the cow (especially) is not considered kosher. Blood vessels and sciatic nerves have to be removed in case of mammals. Internal fat surrounding vital organs has to be removed and discarded. Stunning the animal is against Jewish law.
2. ISLAMIC HALAAL
The animal has to be alive, hale and hearty. Only a Muslim has to perform the slaughter in the appropriate ritual manner. The animal’s throat must be cut by a sharp knife severing the carotid artery, the jugular vein, and the windpipe in a single swipe. Blood must be drained out of the slaughtered animal. In other words, the slaughtered animal has to bleed to death. If stunning the animal kills it, the animal is said to be “mawqoodhah” and hence consumption of its flesh becomes haraam. However, stunning to make it unconscious is permissible, and most of the halal meat in the UK, for example, is obtained from animals stunned before slaughter.
3. HINDU AND SIKH JHATKAA
A single strike of a sword or axe has to sever the head of the animal. Sometimes, a wooden spile is driven into the heart. The single-strike method is advocated because priests consider that an animal making a noise is a bad omen. The animal need not be drained of blood nor has the internal fat to be removed. In fact, some Hindus consume the blood too. Google “Ratha Poriyal” for the recipe, which is a delicacy made from goat’s blood.
Next comes the question of taste of the meat. I have eaten all three types of meat–the Kosher variety was tried out by me in the USA–and I can confidently say that kosher or halaal meat is definitely tastier than jhatkaa meat. Why is this so? I have discussed this with an army veterinary surgeon from the Remount Veterinary Corps of the Indian Army with whom I spent a fortnight in Madikere, Kodagu district, (formerly Mercara, Coorg district) Karnataka. In order to make me understand the answer, the colonel took me first to a shop selling pork and bought half a kilo of meat; this meat was from a domestically grown pig from a piggery. The next day, we went boar hunting on horseback. The colonel managed to bag one boar and we brought it back for dinner. This meat was more tasty than the meat of the domestically grown pig. He then explained how the taste was different in various types of meat. In an animal that is hunted or slaughtered in a ritual way involving bleeding to death, the fear/terror factor comes into play. One can see the animals legs twitching even as its throat is cut and they bleed to death. The animal’s system releases adrenaline into the meat. This enhances flavor of the meat, but at the same time, such meat–with adrenaline in it–leads to health-related issues, which scientists are still researching.
PS. I’d still eat meat.