Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry and Dr. Joe M. Regenstein are working on a presentation entitled “Cultural and Religious Issues in Animal Welfare” for presentation at the upcoming World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) 2nd Global Conference on Animal Welfare meeting in Egypt in late October. The abstract for the paper is shown below.

As you can see from the abstract, we are interested in including a number of short summaries of cultural and religious animal welfare practices in different countries. We will work with the authors to edit these summaries and then include them as part of the written document with the authors name attached to their contribution so that they can be listed as a publication in their professional resume. A copy of the OIE proceedings of the meeting will also be obtained for each such author.

We are focusing on mammals used mainly for food, so in general we would include cattle, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, buffalo/bison, camels and horses.

The type of information we would like to have with respect to the culture of the country would be answers to some or all of the following questions:

  • How animals are raised?
  • How are animals raised and used prior to slaughter?
  • Are food animals also used for other purposes?
  • How animals are normally moved from farms to the slaughter houses?
  • How is slaughter carried out in your country?
  • Are any parts harvested while the animal is alive?
  • Are there any special rituals related to the use of animals?

Please include as many pictures or slides as practical in your paper.

The paper will be delivered in Cairo, Egypt, during the meeting that goes from October 20 – 22, 2008. Thus for us to use the material to establish the framework for our “discussion” at the meeting we are asking for the rough draft of the papers be returned to us by August 31, 2008. For the presentation we hope to have the information from as many countries as possible. The actual written manuscript due date has not yet been determined and that will determine the schedule for the various steps in preparing the formal written summaries.

We thank you for considering joining us and we look forward to working with you. If you feel that you are not the right person, we would be happy to have you pass this on to someone you feel can do the appropriate job. But, whoever is doing the writing should please let us know before beginning their work since we are using a number of methods to contact writers and we’d like to be sure we have no more than one person (or group) writing a report per country. We realize these reports will require an effort and we thank you for helping to make this new information available to the professional community.


Cultural and Religious Issues in Animal Welfare

Muhammad Munir Chaudry(1) and Joe M. Regenstein(2)
1. IFANCA International, Chicago, IL, 60646, USA
2. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA



The purpose of this presentation is to highlight cultural and religious practices in the handling of animals from on the farm through slaughter, in an effort to harmonize such practices with country regulations based on existing scientific information for the purpose of enhancing animal welfare.


Materials and Methods

This work involves the collection and compilation of information from all available sources written as well as visual, to present an objective picture of the relevant cultural and religious practices globally. Religious requirements are taken from the scriptures of those faiths with established animal agriculture requirements, namely, Muslim and Jewish. The existing practices are compiled from various countries through personal communications with knowledgeable individuals and authentic sources.


Results / Discussion / Conclusions

Over the past few decades the issue of humane treatment of animals during slaughter by religious groups has received significant attention and has become a controversial focal point among various stakeholder groups, including governments, animal rights activists and religious communities. This paper describes in an objective, unbiased manner, the religious requirements and cultural practices. An analysis is offered as to which components of the religious requirements have or have not changed with time. Cultural practices in different countries are viewed and analyzed according to the interplay of these practices with the religious requirements prevalent in each country or region. The information presented here, we hope, will help in decreasing the misunderstandings at all levels with respect to animal welfare. This will improve the cooperation among all responsible parties, based on objective information.


Key Words

animal welfare; cultural practices; religious slaughter; halal; kosher


Look forward to working with you.


Dr. Joe M. Regenstein
Professor of Food Science
Head of the Cornell Kosher and Hall Food Initiative
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY


Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry
Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America
Chicago, IL