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Britian goes Halal.

It was revealed last week that many institutions were using Halal meat without advertising it on the menu. Living in an age of immensely detailed food labelling, of concern about animal welfare and of wanting to know where the food on your plate came from, outrage was raised when revealed that even Britain’s biggest group, Whitbread, which owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains were among such using the type of meat.

Animal welfares have campaigned to call for a ban on the Islamic rituals, which involves killing animals by drawing a knife across their throat without first electrically stunning the animal. Many say that such methods are cruel and unnecessary and cause the animal more pain than needed.
Animal rights group Viva! whose supporters include Heather Mills said in a statement:
‘Other practices which may be undertaken for religious reasons, such as polygamy or the stoning of adulterers are not permitted in the UK.’
An RSPCA spokesman said that ‘the public have a right to know where their meat is produced. Many people are concerned about animal welfare.’

Although British laws allow the Muslim community to be exempt from regulations required to stun the animal before death, it is unfortunately allowing meat that isn’t free range, organic or ethically fair to make its way into daily British life.

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One Response

  1. An interesting opinion left on my other blog:

    Is there ever a humane way to kill an animal for food?

    Though I can agree with the animal welfarists’ position on the ritual slaughter procedure let us not kid ourselves that there can be such a thing as ‘happy meat’. There is no clear evidence that electrical stunning removes the pain of slaughter for all animals. If you consider the standard method of slaughter for chickens – by which they are suspended by their feet and passed by a motorised blade – many of the animals will have their throats missed by the blade and still be alive when they are tossed into boiling water to have their feathers removed.

    The reason that Muslims do not stun the animal before slaughter is because of the teaching that an animal should not be harmed before being killed. There is a collection of sayings in the Hadith literature that prescribes Muslims to treat animals well before their death, but this is largely rendered meaningless when halal slaughter procedures are being combined with intensive factory farming.

    Though I am of the position that halal slaughter should be outlawed, I wonder how much of this ‘outrage’ is brought about by people’s compassion for animals, and how much is the result of a growing Islamophobia and the belief that Muslims are getting too much of their own way. For example, I can’t remember the last time I saw an article in a national newspaper about the use of intensively farmed animals in Beefeater chains.

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