Do animals have rights?
The vegetarian argument is that killing animals for the benefit of humans is cruel and an infringement of their rights. They put both on the same level without conceding any superiority to humans over animals. This argument is seriously flawed, because if animals had rights comparable to those of humans, they must also have equivalent duties. In other words, we must be able to blame them and punish them if they violate the rights of others. It is absurd that it should be considered a crime for humans to kill a sheep, but natural for a lion to do so. The problem stems from a misconception of the role of human life within the animal kingdom: a denial of purposeful creation within a clearly defined hierarchy degrades humans to the level of any other creature. Yet even then, the argument is illogical: Why should plants, for example, be denied the same protection from a violation of the sanctity of their life?
Is Islamic slaughter cruel?
The question of how an animal should be slaughtered to avoid cruelty is a different one. It is true that when the blood flows from the throat of an animal it looks violent, but just because meat is now bought neatly and hygienically packaged on supermarket shelves does not mean the animal didn’t have to die? Non-Islamic slaughter methods dictate that the animal should be rendered unconscious before slaughter. This is usually achieved by stunning or electrocution. Is it less painful to shoot a bolt into a sheep’s brain or to ring a chicken’s neck than to slit its throat? To watch the procedure does not objectively tell us what the animal feels.