19-21 March 2018 Behalal.org
The Protection of Jewish and Muslim Religious Practice Against Legislative Assault in Europe
We are proudly invited to attend the 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism which includes speaking about hate in general terms that affect others. Ruksana Shain is invited as a speaker on Halal slaughter who shall be joining others on a panel of experts from Europe on the issues that surround the shared core value of slaughter without pre-stunning methods that is increasing subject to media attention and lobby/campaign to legislate it, label and end it!
A three day event held in the Holy City of Jerusalem to all three Abrahamic faith groups (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) addressing various issues that are impacting Israelis at home and away. Attended by visitors from 183 countries.
Religious slaughter without stunning
European Jews and Muslims face continuos challenges fuelled by media reporting targeting mainly Halal which is still associated with slaughter when in fact the arabic word simply means lawful and relates to all aspects of a Muslims life. The law that governs if anything is halal comes from the Islamic Jurisprudence or Shariah law.
9/11 and emigration of Muslims into Europe has escalated the rise of Islamophobia activists associating the Halal production of food/meat/products as a “taking over”. Little do these right wing campaigners know that Halal slaughter actually is predominately from pre-stun slaughter methods and that non meat products are just that without alcohol and have nothing to do with meat. Igniting and fanning hate against the growth of Islam and association of terrorist activities.
Add to this misinformation or a focus by scientists repeating the same religious slaughter rhetoric that it impacts on animal welfare even though there are “real” common practises that based on the anatomical design of an animal that would be more painful e.g. castration of sheep. Calls for bans and labelling only of religious slaughter without stunning, never a call for improvement of systems and practises. Media claims that halal meat is leaking into the wider food chain and consumed unwittingly. If you really knew the Muslim consumers, you not need look far at the boom of halal food premises and rise of food bloggers. Muslims eat loads of meat! The Food Standards Agency’s 2017 figures for UK meat production put meat from non stun methods at 18%. The only statics we have of Muslim consumption was following an independent study (AHDB 2010) showing that Muslims consumers eating 4 times more meat then your average consumer! In which case the 4.8% Muslim in UK probably out strip the available non meat available.
This whole situation is over shadowed with internal divisions within the Muslim Scholar community over whether it is permissible to use slaughtering methodology and unfortunately still sign of that it is not well understood as there is evidence that it fails to meet the halal requirements which also include animal welfare. This is compacted by Halal certification bodies responding to export market deals and importers accepting pre-stunning methods. Do Muslims in Muslim countries know this? The cherry on the pie is the political conflicts globally and war. There’s a lot going on and you would easily miss checking or ascertaining if the label on the product was correct.
Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland
David Katz, Executive Director, Jewish Medical Association, UK
Ruksana Shain, Founding Director, Behalal.org
Rabbi Lody van der Kamp, Netherlands
Comments that better information and education was needed to let wider consumer become aware of the actual process of slaughter however emotive the subject is. Pressures from far right groups and the vegan movement wanting an end to slaughter were all fuelling and impacting on the communities that place welfare high yet caught in a legal situation that threatens their religious requirements to be able to make an informed choice.
Calls for closer working and better information sharing across Europe.