Animal slaughter  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Slaughter is the term used to describe the killing of animals, usually for food. Commonly it refers to killing of domestic livestock (tame animals).

The animals most commonly slaughtered for food are cattle (for beef and veal), water buffalo, sheep (for lamb and mutton), goats, pigs (for pork), horses (for horse meat), and fowl, largely chickens, turkeys, and ducks and increasingly fish from the aquaculture industry (fish farming).

Modern history

[[File:Rembrandt, bue squartato, 1655, 01.JPG|thumb|right|"Slaughtered Ox" by Rembrandt, 1655]] [[File:Richardson's abattoir.jpg|thumb|right|Blueprint for a slaughterhouse designed by Benjamin Ward Richardson, published 1908.]] The use of a sharpened blade for the slaughtering of livestock has been practiced throughout history. Prior to the development of electric stunning equipment, some species were killed by simply striking them with a blunt instrument, sometimes followed by exsanguination with a knife.Template:Citation needed

The belief that this was unnecessarily cruel and painful to the animal eventually led to the adoption of specific stunning and slaughter methods in many countries. One of the first campaigners on the matter was the eminent physician, Benjamin Ward Richardson, who spent many years of his later working life developing more humane methods of slaughter as a result of attempting to discover and adapt substances capable of producing general or local anaesthesia to relieve pain in people. As early as 1853, he designed a chamber that could kill animals by gassing them. He also founded the Model Abattoir Society in 1882 to investigate and campaign for humane methods of slaughter and experimented with the use of electric current at the Royal Polytechnic Institution.

The development of stunning technologies occurred largely in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1911, the Council of Justice to Animals (later the Humane Slaughter Association, or HSA) was established in England to improve the slaughter of livestock. In the early 1920s, the HSA introduced and demonstrated a mechanical stunner, which led to the adoption of humane stunning by many local authorities.

The HSA went on to play a key role in the passage of the Slaughter of Animals Act 1933. This made the mechanical stunning of cows and electrical stunning of pigs compulsory, with the exception of Jewish and Muslim meat. Modern methods, such as the captive bolt pistol and electric tongs were required, and the act's wording specifically outlawed the poleaxe. The period was marked by the development of various innovations in slaughterhouse technologies, not all of them particularly long-lasting.


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Animal slaughter" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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