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Popular notions of hard-working families forking out for benefit scroungers are well wide of the mark, argues the author of a new book, which shows that virtually everyone at some point in their lives needs government support
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There is an important omission in James Macintyre's article on Jewish and Muslim slaughter of animals (The Tablet, 15 March). This is that the case for it being more, and not less, humane than pre-stunning, based on close observation of the two methods, not only by Jews and Muslims.
For example, Colin Kenny (Guardian letters, 12 March) describes how his work as a junior technician required him to witness both methods on several occasions, and his conclusion was that it was the Jewish method which enabled the animals to die, to judge from appearances, "cleanly and almost instantly".
Harry Lesser, Bowdon, Cheshire
With shechita and halal slaughter death is swift, with the major blood vessels and windpipe being cut. Pre-stunning is not perfect; only 70 per cent of animals so treated are actually stunned. It is not understood that shechita and halal slaughter are spiritual practices that demand good animal welfare and uphold the sanctity of creation.
Shechita and halal slaughter are important processes within Judaism and Islam. In our time, religious practices are under pressure from a secularising society. It is important that people of religion stand with each other.
Revd Keith Trivasse, Bury, Lancs