Is Humane Slaughter Possible?
School of Philosophy, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 April 2020
Revised: 29 April 2020
Accepted: 30 April 2020
Published: 5 May 2020
When looking at the welfare of farmed animals, it is important to also consider the conditions at the end of their lives. How animals are transported and slaughtered can have a large impact on their lifetime welfare. Though most work focusses on reducing the pain and suffering experienced during slaughter, we argue that to be humane, slaughter must not create any kind of harm to the animal. As death itself is harmful to welfare—due to depriving the animal of future positive experiences—slaughter can never be truly humane. Furthermore, the order in which an animal experiences positive and negative events has an impact on welfare, and since slaughter places suffering at the end of life, it is even more harmful. Although these considerations mean that no slaughter can ever be completely humane, it is still important to continue research to improve practices so that as long as it continues, harms to welfare are minimised as much as possible.