John Farelly (Write Back, February 20) refers to "the cruel story of illegal horse meat" as part of his advocacy of vegetarianism which he calls "the only sustainable, ethical and healthy alternative".
Methinks he doth protest too much. I do not think the slaughter of horses is any more cruel than that of cattle, so his claim strikes me as hyperbole.
There is one other factor – the cruelty involved in the so-called 'humane' practice of stunning animals prior to slaughter.
It is a matter of dispute whether the stunning renders the animal unconscious, or merely paralyses it. It also fails to work about 20% of the time and has to be repeated.
Anyone who has suffered an electric shock will know that this is both painful and distressing.
A more humane method is shechitah, the traditional Jewish method, which involves cutting the animal's throat. Admittedly, it is messy. But it is certainly more humane .
The animal's throat is cut with an extremely sharp knife. As a result, the blood flows out so rapidly that the flow to the brain is reduced to such a level that unconsciousness sets in within seconds.
Those who wish to eat meat, whatever their religion, and who are concerned with animal welfare would do well to insist on only eating meat produced by shechitah.
MARTIN D STERN
Salford, Greater Manchester
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