Muslims only eat meat from ritually slaughtered animals whose blood has left their bodies while dying.
Would it not be a good thing to sedate (daze) the animals before cutting their throats. If done so, it just takes 10 to 20 seconds before the animal is completely unconscious as a result of a lack of oxygen.
With non-ritual slaughter the animal is shot while wearing a shooting mask. This severely damages the central nervous system (large brains), but death is not instantaneous. The heart keeps on beating so that now the throat could be cut; then the animal could bleed to death without pain.

Please, readers, note: it is European government regulation that the animals should be dead at the onset of slaughter.

According to Muslim prescriptions it is important for the sedation (anaesthetization) to be reversible, because the animal must be alive and appear sound from the outside before slaughter. Electrical stunning is a possibility, but when too weak voltages are used, animals still move vividly.

 

Some Imams consider sedation acceptable, others have objections. If the slaughterers do not anaesthetize before killing, government officials (controllers) are to supervise on the spot. Their presence has to be paid for and thus the price of the meat increases. There can be no financial objection even if the meat from non sedated animals would be cheaper than that of sedated animals.

     
Every year Muslims celebrate the end of the "hadj" (the pilgrimage to Mecca). The sacrificial feast dates back to the biblical story of Abraham and Isac. Abraham was childless, but God (Allah) promised him a son and gave him this son. God tested Abraham's faith by ordering hem to sacrifice his son. Just as Abraham was about to kill his son, the angel Gabriël told him to sacrifice a sheep instead. In gratitude of God's mercy on this human being, the Muslims sacrifice one or more sheep every year.
One third of the meat is given away to the poor. Considering the fact as no Muslim wishes to be regarded as a miser, more animals are sacrificed than necessary, resulting in a sort of BBQ-party. Some Turkish people order to slaughter at least 100 sheep! Others again have to borrow money to buy a sheep otherwise to be held for poor.
Fortunately, there are Muslims who suggest offering money instead of animals. Slaughter itself is not a farz (farz or fard=an islamic term which denotes a religious duty) but a sünnet (sünnet=an islamic term which denotes a religious habit).
It would be a good action of the Government and would benefit itself to encourage Muslims in finding alternatives for slaughter.
Should the Muslims persist in their desire to sacrifice animals, the preferable way would be to anaesthetize before killing. It would even be better if they abandoned the whole idea of killing altogether. The result would be less cruelty to animals, less costs – and it would earn the Muslims a great deal of goodwill.
 

Steve Meacher wrote us:
Several years ago the World Society for the Protection of Animals staged a demonstration of humane stunning which showed that a captive bolt stunner does not kill the animal, but renders it insensitive to the stress and pain of ritual slaughter. It was demonstrated that the heart continues to beat after stunning and therefore ritual slaughter may follow stunning and the animal will bleed satisfactorily, in accordance with Islamic requirements. The demonstration, before senior Moslem clerics, was videotaped. Copies of the tape are probably still available from WSPA in London.

Stunning by means of captive bolt is probably a more practical solution in the typical slaughterhouse environment than chemical sedation, which in most countries would have to be administered by a vet; not to mention the possible issue of consumption of meat containing sedative chemicals.

From the animals' point of view stunning, properly administered by a trained operative, is instantaneous and therefore more humane than 15 - 20 seconds of increasing drowsiness.

See also: Investigating Halal Meat (Facts about the source of some "halal" meat).
Shechita is the Jewish religious humane method of animal slaughter for food.