I found a great article about Animal Slaughter in Islam and whether it is cruel or not! Please understand that I did not write the below article myself but copied word by word instead of linking this page to the actual article because I am afraid that the article might some day disappear!
Here is the article taken from www.Islamicity.com (with their permission of course);
Is Islamic slaughter cruel? Find out now!
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.
The scientific facts
A team at the university of Hannover in Germany examined these claims through the use of EEG and ECG records during slaughter. Several electrodes were surgically implanted at various points of the skull of all the animals used in the experiment and they were then allowed to recover for several weeks.
Some of the animals were subsequently slaughtered the halal way by making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides together with the trachea and esophagus but leaving the spinal cord intact.
The remainder were stunned before slaughter using a captive bolt pistol method as is customary in Western slaughterhouses. The EEG and ECG recordings allowed to monitor the condition of the brain and heart throughout.
The Halal method of Slaughtering an Animal
With the halal method of slaughter, there was not change in the EEG graph for the first three seconds after the incision was made, indicating that the animal did not feel any pain from the cut itself. This is not surprising. Often, if we cut ourselves with a sharp implement, we do not notice until some time later.
The following three seconds were characterized by a condition of deep sleep-like unconsciousness brought about by the draining of large quantities of blood from the body. Thereafter the EEG recorded a zero reading, indicating no pain at all, yet at that time the heart was still beating and the body convulsing vigorously as a reflex reaction of the spinal cord.
It is this phase which is most unpleasant to onlookers who are falsely convinced that the animal suffers whilst its brain does actually no longer record any sensual messages.
Visit the Department of Halal Certification for more on the Islamic Method of Slaughtering.
The Western method
Using the Western method, the animals were apparently unconscious after stunning, and this method of dispatch would appear to be much more peaceful for the onlooker. However, the EEG readings indicated severe pain immediately after stunning.
Whereas in the first example, the animal seizes to feel pain due to the brain starvation of blood and oxygen – a brain death, to put it in laymen terms – the second example first causes a stoppage of the heart whilst the animal still feels pain.
However, there are no unsightly convulsions, which not only means that there is more blood retention in the meat, but also that this method lends itself much more conveniently to the efficiency demands of modern mass slaughter procedures. It is so much easier to dispatch an animal on the conveyor belt, if it does not move.
Appearances can be deceiving
Not all is what it seems, then. Those who want to outlaw Islamic slaughter, arguing for a humane method of killing animals for food, are actually more concerned about the feelings of people than those of the animals on whose behalf they appear to speak.
The stunning method makes mass butchery easier and looks more palatable for the consumer who can deceive himself that the animal did not feel any pain when he goes to buy his cleanly wrapped parcel of meat from the supermarket.
Islamic slaughter, on the other hand, does not try to deny that meat consumption means that animals have to die, but is designed to ensure that their loss of life is achieved with a minimum amount of pain.”
I hope this scientific article about Islam and the slaughter of animals, for food or to observe our Eid El-Adha (An Islamic day of celebration after the month of Ramadan – Fasting), will help you understand the difference between the Islamic way of slaughtering an animal versus other types of animal slaughter!
Teaching of Islam
Things you should know about Islamic Slaughter