In a debate on religious slaughter methods at Westminster Hall on 4 November 2014, Louise Ellman MP said this, at Column 152WH:
Criticism of Jewish methods of slaughter, of shechita, claims or often assumes that other methods of slaughter are more humane. Those other methods include stunning by penetrative bolt or by electrocution. They include chickens being shackled by their ankles and dipped into a weather bath and electrocuted, and pigs herded into a room and gassed. None of those methods are pleasant.
What are the facts about allegations of cruelty in Jewish methods of slaughter compared with other methods? It is important to recognise, as has happened in this debate, that mechanical stunning has a high failure rate. Many more animals suffer because of inadequate stunning than are killed altogether by shechita. The report of the EU Food Safety Authority stated that failure rates for penetrative captive bolt stunning may be as high as 6.6%—2 million cows. It also reported that failure for non-penetrative captive bolt stunning and electric stunning could be as high as 31%—10 million cows. In comparison, the total number of cattle killed by shechita in any one year is 20,000. It is clearly accepted, and has been by hon. Members this morning, that there are many cases of failed stunning and it is extremely important to register that. It is sometimes assumed that that is a superior method to shechita.
In addition to that report, a more recent one from Animal Aid, “The Humane Slaughter Myth”, recorded the results of filming in three random slaughterhouses in 2009. Among other things, it found pigs, sheep and calves inadequately stunned by electrocution and recounted horrific scenes of those animals trying to escape, howling and thrashing around. It reported injured animals who were then slaughtered and ewes watching their young killed. It is important to note that both practices are specifically prohibited under a range of intricate Jewish laws that prohibit cruelty to animals and make them not kosher and not able to be eaten by Jews observing kashrut.