A company established two automated slaughter houses for poultry, and contacted numerous foreign companies for information about automated slaughtering machines. They have all stated the following:
1- Chickens are hung upside down on a moving conveyor belt before slaughter; although they are shackled, the birds are still able to move their heads and wings.
2- Two machines are used for slaughter: The first subdues the birds by temporarily submerging them in electrically charged water tanks. This pre-slaughter process merely immobilizes the birds including their heads and wings; the birds neither drown nor die. Next, they are conveyed to an automated extremely sharp blade designed to cut their throats without completely severing their heads.
3- A recording, fixed above the slaughter machine, will play "In the name of God, God is the Greatest" (Bismillah-Allahu Akbar) several times.
Does this method of slaughter conform to Islamic law (al-Shari'ah), and what is the ruling concerning these matters?
The majority of jurists maintain that it is permissible to slaughter an animal with any tool, except for a nail or tooth, that causes blood to gush out from its body and which severs the jugular veins. This is because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "If the tool, other than a nail or a tooth, used to slaughter an animal causes its blood to gush out, and the name of God is mentioned, then eat (from the slaughtered animal)" (reported by Al-Bayhaqi and Abu Dawud, may God be pleased with them).
Based on this, if the bird is not killed and resumes its vitality after being electrically stunned, it is permissible to use this method and eat from the meat of this animal after slaughtering it. If the birds are not slaughtered after passing through the electrically charged water tank, but die from the effect of stunning, then they are considered unslaughtered animals, which are prohibited to eat in Islam.
This method of slaughter is permissible according to Islamic law if:
- If it is certain that the electrically charged water will not kill the birds, nor cause blood to gush out from them.
- The birds are slaughtered when they pass through the second machine.
God Almighty knows best.