Preliminary reversible stunning of the animal is a valid solution and should be applied in slaughterhouses

The vote in the Brussels parliament on the ban on slaughter without stunning will take place this Friday. Animal suffering cannot be weighed against subjective, irrational and sometimes even electoralist arguments, protests a veterinarian in an open letter.

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VSher elected representatives of Brussels,

Like 72% of my fellow citizens (origin: Ipsos) and as already voted in the Flemish and Walloon Parliaments, I am in favor of the prior stunning of animals during slaughter.

I am a veterinarian, with anatomical, neurological, ethological, hematological knowledge.

I watched with bewilderment as the debate shifted from an objective reality of animal suffering to subjective, irrational and sometimes even electoralist arguments.

I will carefully follow the elected representatives of Brussels who will vote against the proposal and I will draw the conclusions when you ask for my vote again.

My decision is motivated by:

– The anatomical reality of ruminants which have arteries supplying the brain, the carotids, which are more complex than ours. Indeed, if I slit the throat of a human, who has only two carotids, the person instantly collapses, unconscious. This person is going to die, bled white, but unconscious because his brain is no longer irrigated. In ruminants, the carotids are very different, the irrigation of the brain continues, even after one cuts the throat to them. The blood supply continues to operate the brain, until they die from lack of blood. Scientists know very well that it can last from 2 to 14 minutes. So: from 2 to 14 minutes of agony in full consciousness.

– Stunning is for the sole purpose of rendering the animal unconscious and insensitive to pain. Death will be caused long after by the significant loss of blood. This bleeding requires several minutes before causing death. It is therefore normal, decent, and may I say, human, that one provokes a state of unconsciousness and insensitivity during these long minutes. Bleeding results in death, on an unconscious, unresponsive, stunned animal. Moreover, the stunning is reversible. And practiced in many countries, not to mention Flanders and Wallonia.

– Up to more than 50% of the carcasses whose animals are slaughtered without stunning end up in the traditional circuit without the consumer being able to know it. Is this normal?

– The incision must be very deep, down to the bone (up to the cervical spine). Many organs have to be severed. All of them have many nerves and are very sensitive. A vomiting reflex starts in the gaping wound. All this while the animal is conscious, because its brain is functioning due to the continuing blood supply.

– The sacrificer, for the first animal, has an excellently sharpened knife. When he makes several sacrifices to the bone, the knife is less sharp with all the consequences for the duration of the incision.

In short, it is the veterinarians who are present in the slaughterhouses who assess this AVOIDABLE animal suffering. Prior reversible stunning is a valid solution that should be applied.

So I insistently ask you to vote yes to slaughter with stunning, as requested by 72% of Belgians.

*Co-signers: Laurence Demeester, veterinarian and representative for Brussels of the Professional Veterinary Union; Fabien Danlois, veterinarian; Guy Baert, veterinarian; Coralie Beel, veterinarian; René Sterpin, veterinarian; Anne Pensis, veterinarian; Yvan Beck, veterinarian; Marc Somerhausen, veterinarian; Ignace Assenmacher, veterinarian; Jacques Rauïs, veterinarian; Joëlle Lefort, veterinarian; Virginie Vermeire, veterinarian; Céline Dehouck, veterinarian; Pascal Vanhaelen, veterinarian; Christiane Loeman, veterinarian; Myrielle Mathieu, veterinarian; John Smet, veterinarian; Virginie Rousillon, veterinarian; Anabelle Aerts, veterinarian; Frederic Cordier, veterinarian; Dominique Ranson Cock, veterinarian; Claude Noirfalise, veterinarian; Jacqueline Stoffels, veterinarian; Marine Kaisin, veterinarian.

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