We’ve all seen those labels at the store: Certified Humane. What does it mean? The label states that the animals were raised, handled, and slaughtered humanely. Humane slaughter. What exactly is humane slaughter? Do those two words even belong together?
The definition of humane is to act with mercy, compassion, and kindness. Some synonyms are compassionately, gently, and kindly. The definition of slaughter is to violently kill.
You can humanely pet your dog. You can humanely feed a hungry stray cat. You can humanely donate to an organization that helps others. But you cannot humanely slaughter an animal that doesn’t want to die.
If there’s one thing that we share with animals, it’s that we all want to live. It’s an instinct that we are born with. Animals do anything they can to survive in the wilderness. They do very well at keeping themselves alive in the wild. But animals can’t do much when they are taken from the wilderness. If there is one predator that animals cannot escape, it would be a human.
Animals don’t want to die. In nature documentaries, you see the predator chasing its prey. You can see how desperate the animal is to escape its attacker, and how desperate the predator is to catch a meal. One thing unites them both: they both want to live to see another day. The prey might escape and live, or it could be caught and die as a piece of meat.
In slaughterhouses, there is no chance that the prey will escape from the predator. We always win. Another innocent animal that didn’t want to die. Dead. But hey, at least we’ve got bacon, sausages, and ham!
There is no such thing as humane slaughter. The term is an oxymoron, like a white black bear. They are two opposite words put together. Humane and slaughter should not even be in the same sentence!
Humane or not, animals still suffer. The only difference between humane and non-humane meat is that the animal was stunned before its throat is slit. This means they must be rendered unconscious and insensible to pain. However, this is largely unenforced. There are a number of ways to “humanely” stun an animal: carbon dioxide stunning, captive bolt stunning, electric stunning, etc. Sometimes the animal is not stunned properly and is still fully conscious when its throat is slit.
Animals are smart. They know when they’re life is going to end. Before being killed, they experience stress and terror. Some animals foam at the mouth and show the whites of their eyes. These are signs that the animal is undergoing extreme stress. This happens at both non-humane and humane slaughter facilities. How is the animal’s experience at the humane slaughter facility difference than the experience of the other animal?
Humane slaughter does not exist. It doesn’t even make sense. Slaughter is violent, horrifying, and anything but humane.