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Opinion: There are more important questions about meat we eat than whether it’s halal

5/5/14 www.westbriton.co.uk

By West Briton

OVER the past few weeks, ‘halal’ meat has been the new hot topic in the media, which successfully caused irrational commotion. This kind of journalism I feel is ill-intended and simply aimed at inducing fear of the other based on mere ignorance.

It was so ludicrous that it became almost funny … people were upset that the animal must be alive before slaughtering. Every animal is alive before it is killed or it dies.

This argument of meat-eaters that one way of killing an animal is better than another is absurd to a vegetarian who is against animal cruelty, for killing is killing, regardless of the method.

For those who were angry and shocked that their Big Mac was ‘halal’ meat seem to forget to question what proportion of ‘meat’ is exactly in their burgers in the first place or ‘potatoes’ in their fries.

I completely support the argument that as consumers we have the right to be informed so we can make a choice that is right for us.

However, we need to ask the right questions … for example, as a meat-eater, I would want to know where was the animal reared and what were its living conditions? What was it fed on? What environment was it slaughtered in?

This is regardless of whether it is halal or not. Halal meat, which should refer to pure and wholesome meat, is now yet another label that the media created to refer to something alien and barbaric.

The word ‘halal’ in relation to meat simply means permissible. However, it is the whole process that sanctifies it and deems it permissible to eat.

The animal must be treated with care and compassion during its life, fed well and kept well. If it is to be slaughtered, it should be treated in such a way that fear has to be minimised, the act must not be performed directly in front of other animals, the animal should be given a drink of water to calm it, and the Islamic prayer recited to help the animal to surrender.

The knife should be very sharp to cause instant death and no unnecessary suffering.

And although God made certain animals permissible to eat, meat consumption has now gone into an industrial scale worth billions of pounds, which in turn has led to animal suffering and the poor quality of the meat that we put into our bodies.

We know that Prophet Muhammad rarely ate meat and that there was a saying that one should eat meat a least once every 40 days, which showed that he used to go without meat for longer.

So although I am appalled at this whole ‘halal’ racket, it is right that everyone should be highly concerned about the source of their food (meat or not) and, therefore, the treatment of animals before, during and after death.

After a little research a couple of years ago, as a family, we felt that the true and sacred meaning of halal most probably would not apply to most of the halal meat consumed now, for the requirements I listed above, more often than not, are not met.

So no, it is not just a prayer … halal is the complete process from beginning to end.

Anyway, whatever you have for your next tea, enjoy.




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