A recent initiative through Parliament in Hessen, a federation state of Germany, is asking for animals facing ritual slaughter (called schächten in German) to be stunned before throat-cutting. After an unsuccessful attempt in 2005, state secretary Karl–Winfried Seif is determined to make a change: “Animals are creatures that are able to suffer and feel pain. Substantial suffering through ritual slaughter must be excluded.”
Ritual slaughter is an ongoing international controversy. Countries such as Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and parts of Austria require stunning prior to slaughter, while Denmark, Finland and the lower Austrian provinces require stunning right after the killing.