Saqib Mohammed, Chief Executive of Halal Food Authority (HFA) is probably THE most proactive of Halal certifiers creating change. Recently adding ‘Traditional Halal’ labelling which is animals slaughtered without the use of stunning as another option to the existing use of pre-stunning methods in the meat certified as Halal. And one that is music to our ears is a decision that involves HFA launching a fund to fight attacks that are malicious regarding Halal claims.
We have seen in recent years a political movement that has swallowed up religious slaughter and add in the word Muslim it’s all gone Pete Tong; anything to do with Muslims/Islam – auto response – hate it, it’s bad. A group of European based Animal Welfare organisations have campaigned to focus solely to malign religious slaughter especially halal slaughter. The media has picked this up and spiralled into a frenzy of hysteria by generating misguided messaging that has etched in minds of individuals that Halal slaughter means bad welfare coupled with a few anti-Muslim/Islamic activists like Kirralie Smith in Australia stirring hate. She alleged that Halal certification funds terrorism which in February of this year Ms Smith had to eat humble pie and apologise after being pursed to court. Yes, there are poor and bad practices but you can’t use this to beat the WHOLE Halal meat industry with. Consequently, individuals feel justified, a “Right” to launch an attack. We live in a democracy and to enquire and ask questions is good but these attacks are often just that, an ATTACK that are hugely offensive, personal and abusive without having evidence.
We are delighted that education has also been bought into the equation. A better understanding objectively is needed. The Halal industry is worth millions, billions globally and creating a pot of money to do this work is long over due. Well done HFA for starting this process and hope it spurs others to step up too by putting their hands in their pockets : ) by creating unity in the industry. Instead of thinking it will blow over that a change in direction to challenge those that attack it without justification and evidence. Economically it makes sense to protect your assets and a lucrative industry made of organisations and even countries that benefit financially from the export to Muslim countries so PR is really needed and it can’t go on being disregarded no more. From a consumer perspective the unwarranted attacks on Halal slaughter without stunning threatens an obligation to consume Halal foodstuffs especially the risk where countries have enforced a ban. If people cite “even if animal welfare is being compromised” well no, there is no conclusive evidence that suggests that slaughter without stunning does. It’s rather more complicated please do see an earlier post on Slaughter Methods explored there are many problems with slaughter methods on welfare grounds alone but being ignored http://ehalal.org/consumer/slaughter-methods-explored/
We are watching the space to see which partners come on board. We take issue with labelling of halal claims and won’t keep quite if we believe that Halal claims are being compromised and/ or being passed off. Transparency is what we want because it helps everyone including non Muslims to make the best informed decisions.
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