Wednesday, March 4, 2015

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Go To Halal

The government of Denmark has banned the slaughter of unstunned animals for use as kosher and halal meat.  

European regulations require animals to be stunned before they are slaughtered, but grants exemptions on religious grounds. For meat to be considered kosher under Jewish law or halal under Islamic law, the animal must be conscious when killed.

Europe granting exemption on religious grounds will be explained away via the discourse of respect rather than the more candid discourse of deference. Disregarding Europe the Danish Minister For Agriculture and Food said that “animal rights come before religion”. That is reassuring because the implication is that human rights must also come before religion.  Gays, women, freethinkers and children,  as human beings, should be afforded the right of total protection from the men of god.

Denmark made the headlines a fortnight back because of the Islamist double attack on a free speech event and a synagogue, which left two people dead.  That seems to have prompted a belief that the Danish initiative "is motivated as much by the wish to cause fundamentalists suffering as to spare it to animals." Yet, the Danish decision came after years of lobbying from the animal welfare lobby.  
 
From its perspective "suffering of sentient animals should not be overlooked for the sake of unsympathetic religious sensibilities.” And the evidence suggests that religious ritual does lead to gratuitous suffering. John Blackwell, president elect of the British Veterinary Association said:
 
Our position remains that animals should all be stunned prior to slaughter such as that they’re rendered insensible to pain at the point of death. All the evidence I’ve seen and interpreted suggests there is a welfare issue associated to the perception of pain during the period between the throat being cut and the animal’s loss of sensibility.
 
A Muslim body, Danish Halal, claimed the government ban was “a clear interference in religious freedom limiting the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion in Denmark”. Israel’s deputy minister of religious services Rabbi Eli Ben asserted that “European anti-Semitism is showing its true colours across Europe, and is even intensifying in the government institutions.” Absolute rubbish, a playing of the victim card yet again.  Protecting animals from unnecessary suffering caused by religious ritual is anti-cruelty not anti-Semitic.

This holy howling comes despite the fact that both kosher and halal are for the most part imported and according to one media outlet "Denmark has not recorded any ritual slaughter in the last ten years." The Israeli response echoes the defence of the revolting religious practice of rabbis abusing babies under the pretense of religious circumcision.

This notion that people of faith should be allowed to practice their religion on others needs challenged at every turn. People are free to practice their religion on themselves. The rest of us have a right to be free from religion and that means being free not to have any religious rituals inflicted upon us. If you are opposed to the morning after pill don’t take it, same as the condom, don’t wear it.

If I were to slaughter a goat as an offering to god in the forlorn hope of inducing a Liverpool FC victory I would most likely be jailed. Yet my sporting opinion is no less worthy than a religious opinion and it has the added advantage that I can prove my team exists.  

Yet if Denmark is to be taken seriously rather than cynically it must address the abomination pointed out by Andrew Brown in the Guardian:

It seems to me obvious that the slaughter of animals at the end of their lives is of far less ethical importance than the way they are treated beforehand. The cruelties of factory farming extend over an animal's whole lifetime whereas the cruelty of ritual slaughter lasts minutes at most. To complain about the halal slaughter of battery chickens or factory farmed veal is a truly monstrous absurdity.

4 comments :

tiarna said...

I saw a video once of sheep being slaughtered by Halal -its not a few minutes thing for a lot of animals. The cut has to be made in one swipe In the video a man rushes through a flock of spooked sheep swiping at each sheep (ISIS haphazard style) -his aim was often not accurate nor the cut sufficient enough to allow the animals to bleed out fast, it took an hour or more for many animals to perish. The speed the man passed through the flock I dare say he could hardly catch his breath much less recite some mumbo jumbo chant for each animal.

A few years ago I recall newspaper articles highlighting that although a minority of shoppers at Sainsbury's are Muslim it was a matter of practice that Sainsbury sold only halal meat but did not labeled as such for other customers to decide.

I think the Danes are right and all other states should follow their example.

Niall said...

Good point AM and well put, although goats and LFC....where would you get a goat!

AM said...

The Liverpool defence has a load of goats in it

Alfie Gallagher said...

Seeing as Liverpool completely turned their dismal pre-Xmas form right around, notching up their 7th win in 8 matches last night, I reckon you must have sacrificed quite a few goats, Anthony!