Bismillahi Rrahmani Rrahim
I wrote the below piece when this issue initially came to the surface a few years back.
It deals with stunning in general and the part about CAS gas stunning is half way through.
There are many factors to consider here. The process of stunning the animal itself is not from the prophetic teaching nor the Islamic practice of slaughtering domesticated animals.
It is only due to commercialisation and mass production that it has been introduced.
The statement of those who claim that modern society has developed a humane system to slaughter animals whilst they are rested should be contested in the light of Quran and Hadith.
Had stunning been a more humane method, then the beloved Prophet of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would have introduced it by instructing us to render animals unconcious before slaughtering.
Maulana Mufti Yusuf Ludhyaanwi Sahib ra has written concerning stunning: “The method of stunning itself is incorrect. If there had been any relief for the animal in striking the head and Allah had preferred this method, then the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam himself would have taught this method. Those people who have devised this method are essentially trying to prove themselves more clever than the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.”
Everyone agrees that an animal’s suffering should be kept to a minimum. What is up for debate now is whether stunning accomplishes that goal.
Religious leaders say minimising an animal’s pain has always been central to their traditions, and a ritual slaughter carried out with a sharp blade to the neck should be quick and almost painless.
This cut aims to sever the major blood vessels in the neck as well as the surrounding tissue (including skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, and nerves) so that the animal dies instantly. The subsequent excessive reflex movement, kicking and thrashing etc is not necessarily a sign of the animal suffering, (although this may be debatable).
When an animal is fully conscious during the the act of slaughtering, once the major arteries have been severed can we say with absolute certainty that the animal feels more pain at this point and that stunning would have mitigated the pain?
Regarding electric stunning, tongs are placed on either side of the head and a large current is passed through the brain in order to render the animal immediately unconscious. At least, that is what is supposed to happen. This causes pain as well as burns to the animal.
Even when electric stunning is administered correctly, there remains concern that some animals due to a variation in their susceptibility to the current, are rendered immobile, rather than unconscious. This could even apply to many animals because of the inherent shortcomings of stunning itself. If this is the case, the number of animals going to the knife while conscious would be far higher than is commonly believed,
Which means they suffered twice – the pain of being electrocuted and the pain at the time of the slaughter.
For more detailed reading please see this link;
The reason that we as Muslims accept stunning is because it is mandatory and has been imposed on us rather than believing this to be a superior or more humane method of slaughter.
As far as the ruling on eating the meat of animals stunned pre slaughter is concerned, as long as the animal remains alive till the time of slaughter then it is deemed as halal.
GAS STUNNING OR CAS
CAS or gas stunning is the process by which gases such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen are used to render the animals unconscious prior to slaughter.
One of the drawbacks of CAS is that gas stunning does not induce instantaneous insensibility, which raises the question: how much stress and discomfort does the animal undergo before it loses consciousness?
There have been concerns over the use of carbon dioxide because this is a pungent gas that can irritate animals’ eyes and respiratory tracts. There also seem to be differences between the ways individual animals react to these gases.
The other drawback is that gas stunning delivers a stun that is often irreversible and animals will never regain consciousness from.
The variations in sizes of the chickens, their health and individual resistance capacities means that a standard recommended dosage and proportion of gas administered would be extremely difficult to set and some animals may die during this process.
One could also argue that with electric stunning we are also facing the same issues, ie. a blanket magnitude of electric current cannot be used for all sizes.
However the difference with electric stunning is that the birds are separated and killed according to sizes. Hence the smaller birds will have a lower voltage set for stunning than the bigger birds. The other difference is that the stunning effect is reversible as the chickens after stunning will come back to life. This is something that I have tested myself by putting chickens to the side after stunning to see if it would revive. In all three cases I tested the chickens came back to life.
With regards to gas stunning as per what was released from the One Path video, the chickens did not revive after CAS or at least 70% of them did not come back to life.
From my limited reasearch and experience as a halal auditor my humble view is that one cannot give a definitive ruling until more comprehensive research is done.
However on this basis one should adhere to the original fiqhi ruling regarding animals that is agreed upon by consensus of the Fuqaha ie:
“ANIMALS ARE CONSIDERED HARAM UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE.”
قال النووي رحمه الله: “فيه بيان قاعدة مهمة وهي أنه إذا حصل الشك في الذكاة المبيحة للحيوان : لم يحل؛ لأن الأصل تحريمه، وهذا لا خلاف فيه” انتهى من شرح صحيح مسلم
قال ابن العربي المالكي: «قال علماؤنا: الأصل في الحيوان التحريم، لا يحل إلا بالذكاة والصيد؛ فإذا ورد الشك في الصائد والذابح بقي على أصل التحريم»
قال ابن القيم رحمه الله: الأصل في الذبائح التحريم
Allah knows best.
IMAM Shakeeb Tayyabah