Whenever religious slaughter makes the headlines, both shechita and dhabihah (the term used for halal slaughter) tend to be considered as two sides of the same coin. Yet there are fundamental differences.
The vast majority of halal meat (between 80 and 90 per cent) is mechanically stunned just as it would be at a conventional slaughterhouse.
Where no mechanical stunning is carried out, the main differences stem from the key issue of regulation. Judaism has a huge body of strict religious law governing every stage of the shechita process, underpinned by a legally constituted body called the Rabbinical Commission for the Licensing of Shochetim.
By contrast, in the Muslim community, there is no robust regulation to speak of and every mosque stands as its own religious authority. That means that the method of slaughter could be of the highest quality or of the lowest and it is very difficult to know which.
Representatives of the Muslim community readily admit that, with no standardised approach to licensing, regulation or even the act of slaughter itself, they have work to do to achieve better standards of self-regulation.