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Halal meat

(94 Posts)
POGS Thu 10-May-12 20:47:55

April 24th a Tory M.P. lost a motion to get all meat produce labelled as to whether or not it was halal produced.

This is a report in a well known newspaper, what do you think.

A leading vet has called for a crackdown on the rising sale of meat from animals that have not been stunned prior to slaughter.
Bill Reilly, a former president of the British Veterinary Association said killing conscious animals by slitting their throats caused them distress, fear and pain.
Stunning animals before slaughter is MANDATORY in the U.K., although there are are exemptions on religious grounds to produce halal meat for islam and kosher meat for judaism.

He went on to say 25% of the meat market is now halal produced and is being sold to unwitting customers in supermarkets and takeaways.

I for one would want to know if the meat I buy was halal and unlike some of the M.P.s who tried to make it a racist point of view I fully understand the requirement for halal and kosher meat but I don't feel I should not be told as the consumer. I also think it would be a good idea for those who need to buy halal meat in a supermarket etc., to be able to buy for their religious requirements too. Am I wrong?

whitewave Thu 10-May-12 20:50:46

I heard that report on the radio - something to do with saving money. I try where possible to buy organic free range as that has the highest level of animal welfare but not sure about the killing of them

Bags Thu 10-May-12 20:52:31

I have read somewhere that even halal meat should be (and is) stunned before being slaughtered. However, I accept that this is unlikely if the vet's report is correct. I actually think the religious requirement should be changed. It's just a piece of nonsense in the twenty-first century to keep barbaric old laws that are not necessary.

jeni Thu 10-May-12 21:05:45

Bags I agree with you. I thought even halal was stunned. The requirement that it should be exsanguinated was sensible in primitive hot countries. But here?

granjura Thu 10-May-12 21:10:14

I totally agree. I am not in any way racist or anti-Islam - but we all deserve to know the facts so we can make our choice.

In Switzerland halal slaughter is NOT allowed by law, without stunning first. NO exceptions are made- but people are allowed to go and buy it in France or Germany and import it back (within the customs allowance or by paying import tax). There is actually NOTHING in the Qu'ran which states that stunning is not allowed, only that muslims must not eat meat from a dead animal whose throat has not been cut to allow it to bleed first. A stunned animal is indeed still alive- so according to the Qu'ran it is perfectly fine. Will put an article here to this effect.

granjura Thu 10-May-12 21:11:56

Is Stunning Animals used for Meat Haram?

The question of stunning animals used for halal meat has become somewhat of buzzword amongst some UK Muslims. This is mainly due to poor communication from the relevant bodies on the differences in stunning techniques and what the shariah (and scholars of fiqh) actually say about the matter of stunning.

This short article outlines our approach to stunning.

In short, Abraham Natural Produce would rather all animals were slaughtered without stunning . However most abattoirs in the UK, unless purpose built for halal slaughter, use stunning on animals. Where we are based in the UK there are no Muslim abattoirs. We therefore have no option but to stun our produce as only animals processed through abattoirs can be sold for human consumption. On top of this we are bound by organic standards which demand that any animal solds as "organic" must be stunned before being stuck. The stun used is a very low voltage that knocks the animal out for around 15-20 seconds. After 20 seconds it is potentially back to normal and during that 20 seconds it is alive and breathing. This means that when the animal is cut it still bleeds the animal properly.

If any animal is stunned and as a consequence dies, it would be haram to eat. However the chances of this happening are extremely slim if not impossible. As we personally slaughter we are also able to see if signs of life still exist in the animal and that it has been bled properly.

Before starting this company we researched the area of stunning and were confused by mixed messages. The popular belief that stunning rendered meat as haram did not actually correspond to what scholars have said. We therefore sought guidance from trusted scholars. They, in agreement with many others, concluded that the act of stunning does not make meat haram as long as the animal is alive and the rules of slaughter are adhered to.

The Halal Meat Authorities

Many people in the UK are now obsessed with the issue of stunning having been given the impression that it is haram. What has in truth happened is that some within a certain UK halal meat authority have taken a disliking to stunning and as a consequence people have been (mis)informed that it is totally haram. In fact, the meat is still halal - all it means is that businesses can not get that authority's logo on their produce.

If one reads their literature or website carefully one will note that they do not term stunned meat as haram anywhere. What one finds is that they have implemented a "blanket policy" against stunning on the basis that there may be some doubt over whether or not an animal is alive at the time of slaughter. This shows that they agree that if a stunned animal is alive at the time of slaughter it is halal.

We asked the authority, the Halal Monitoring Committee, for their response on this matter and they kindly responded with the following proving that just because an animal is stunned it is not haram:

Bags Thu 10-May-12 21:26:47

Thanks, granjura. That is very clear. Good for Switzerland, I say!

nanaej Thu 10-May-12 22:06:35

Ever been to an abattoir to see animals prior to stunning? The look pretty scared too! I don't want any animal to suffer unnecessarily but a professional butcher will dispatch an animal swiftly. Agree if we have food information labeling would be sensible to indicate if it kosher /halal / other.

Greatnan Thu 10-May-12 22:23:32

Switzerland has lots of good ideas - such as assisted suicide and free bags for cleaning up behind your dog.

I suppose most dietary restrictions were based on sensible health precautions of 3,000 years ago but they could surely be revised now.

nanaej Thu 10-May-12 23:20:53

greatnan agree that in places where refrigeration is available and hygiene facilities good the religious food laws are outdated. Religious Jews or Muslims will need more convincing I fear! It is so inbuilt into their cultures. I have friends of both Jewish and Muslim heritage who are not practising or even believers but still cannot eat pork..they just can't make themselves!

POGS Fri 11-May-12 00:34:35

I really do want it noted that whilst I instigated this question my point is not to try and detract from the message halal meat is required by some religions and I therefore beleive they have every right to continue with this form of production.It would be unacceptable for the likes of me to try and tell anyone any different. My point is if that is my view should I not as a purchaser be given the same respect and afforded the knowledge to buy or not to buy meat within my acceptance of production, the same as anyone who for religious grounds can only eat halal meat would benefit from knowing how the meat they are buying has been produced.

It was a great sadness to me some M.P.'s thought this was a topic that could be deemed as racist and stopped the motion going through to have meat labelled.

Bags Fri 11-May-12 08:58:38

Noted, pogs. No harm in pointing out that the religious requirement is unreasonable if one thinks so either. Religions do tend to have rules which, if subjected to a bit of rational thought, they would throw out.

absentgrana Fri 11-May-12 10:26:47

It seems to me that MPs should get to grips with the difference between religion and race. Disparaging a religious requirement or requiring further clarification about it cannot be deemed racist. What race is Islam? While Jew is a term that may be applied both to someone's religion and someone's race, the requirement for kosher foodstuffs is a purely religious one.

I am still waiting for someone to clarify what constitutes a race, given that it cannot be classified genetically. But I've bored everyone with my annoying queries about this before. Sorry.

Bags Fri 11-May-12 11:06:20

Not boring, absent. We just don't know the answer.

whenim64 Fri 11-May-12 11:25:15

absent your points are spot on - wish the answers were! smile

Anagram Fri 11-May-12 11:38:03

You are so right, absent. There must be some MPs who appreciate the difference. What a pity none of them seem to be brave enough to voice their views.

jeni Fri 11-May-12 12:17:09

A race is where a large body of water enters a narrow channel with the tide behind it! C/f Alderney race between Alderney and France. A very scary place to be without an engine!
Not being flippant,, just answering 'what is a race?' that is one definition. But not whatabsent meant I think.
I suppose a race could be defined as 'an inbred group of people who who have genetic traits in common due to selective breeding' how's that for off the top of my head?

Bags Fri 11-May-12 12:20:20

Pretty good, I'd say, jeni, as it indirectly highlights what most of us probably have, namely hybrid vigour, because we are such a mish mash of different, once (but no longer) isolated groups of people.

absentgrana Fri 11-May-12 12:31:46

jeni Two problems with your rather good stab at a definition. Would the Chinese, for example, be classed as an "inbred group of people" given the sheer numbers? Whoever decides what constitutes a race (and who is that and what qualifications do they have?) gets very muddled between ethnicity and nationality. Thus the Irish are classed as a race for the purposes of the law but not necessarily other Celts. Jews are classed as a race but Arabs are Semites too, so, presumably, should be included in the same group. (That would throw the cat among the pigeons.) Black appears to be a race in its own right, again for the purposes of the law, irrespective of the size of Africa and the range of tribal ancestry.
It's fundamentally a flawed classification in the 21st-century world.

jeni Fri 11-May-12 12:51:16


Greatnan Fri 11-May-12 15:32:50

I googled 'What percentage of white Americans have Negro blood' and found some interesting sites. It was fairly common for white slave owners to impregnate their female slaves and the child would be raised as black and would probably have a black woman partner (the weren't not usually offered marriage by those good christian owners). The white blood would gradually be attenuated. Some white Americans, though, did get quite a shock when blood tests showed them to have negro blood. Just proves how stupid trying to stereotype people by their ethnicity is. One caveat, though - some diseases are more prevalent in certain races, such as sickle cell anemia, so it might be necessary to identify origin in order to provide correct treatment or prevention.
That is fine, as long as no race, nationality or blood-line is considered superior to another.

whenim64 Fri 11-May-12 16:23:16

absent yes, if only we could stop defining people in terms of race and ethnicity, but as long as one person or group is harming another, the authorities will continue to collect statistics to show whether we are all being treated equally in the eyes of the law.

JessM Fri 11-May-12 16:37:49

I think the concept of race goes back to 19th century anthropology that tried to establish clear categories of human : negro, causasian etc. This is long discredited as such clear categories are proved to not exist in any scientific sense.
Back to the meat. Halal and Kosher both stem from the book of leviticus don't they? Making sure that animals are not diseased when they are slaughtered. So in simple terms of several thousand years ago - if it looks half dead, groggy or semi conscious then it may not be fit for human consumption.
This has been perpetuated by religions as part of the general "thou shalt or shalt not" religious laws. Power, control, us and them etc.
There is little agreement amongst muslim groups about the exact requirements I understand. Which makes food labelling a bit tricky. What is halal to one is not proper halal to another.
I was reading an article in NZ about the effects of stress on the quality of meat. A group of farmers, aided by a scientist, were researching how to manage lambs in the weeks running up to slaughter, so as to produce a tender "low stress" humane product. So the science exists to determine what is and is not stressful to animals.

Ariadne Fri 11-May-12 19:03:57

Easier not to eat meat at all? Sorry, don't try to plug the vegetarian bit but to me, all this is missing the essential issue. (Ducks down beneath parapet.)

nightowl Fri 11-May-12 19:07:58

Brave woman Ariadne! I am trying to keep out of this one! (coward)