Sir, – Unlike your ‘disgusted’ correspondent (The SF, September 30), I would be happy to buy meat from a Halal butcher because I would know that throughout the animal from whom the meat came had been treated with some respect and not merely as a commodity. 

I am, however, grateful to that person in drawing my attention to the apparent conflict between the legal requirements concerning slaughter in New Zealand. 

It seems that the conflict was and is resolved by the degree of stunning.

Animals stunned for Halal meat in New Zealand require to be stunned ‘reversibly’. This is defined as not stunned so severely that the animal cannot be revived, if required. 

I presume that experiments were carried out to determine the parameters of reversible stunning and they may be checked from time to time. Halal slaughtermen in New Zealand require certification and qualification and parts of these qualifications include knowledge of how to minimise animal suffering and proper application and sharpening of slaughter knives and tools. 

I do not know if any human volunteer has been reversibly stunned to report on how painful or painless the process is, but I do know that on some rare occasions patients have been awake during major surgery but unable to tell the theatre staff at the time due to complete paralysis from the chemicals used. These occasions are thankfully rare but are a nightmare for the patients concerned. 

Anaesthesia is a skilled and developing area of medicine, and there does not appear to be any wish to use electro-stunning on human patients – so ‘disgusted’ should realise that he or she is rationalising squeamishness. 

Sandy Henderson
Faulds Farm, Braco, Dunblane