The many missed-steaks of halal slaughter

The many missed-steaks of halal slaughter

Comment: Halal abattoirs are cruel - they require cattle and poultry to be alive at the time of killing...
6 min read
08 Nov, 2017
'Anti-halal meat' activism exposes only the ignorance of the protesters [Getty]
Editor's note: This is a satirical article

On Saturday, November 4, the group calling themselves "Exposing Islam - Northern Ireland 2" on Facebook staged a protest against halal slaughter at the gates of Dunbia, the Dungannon-based meat-processing firm.

And I, for one, approve.

It is about time that someone stood up to the brutal slaughter method, which belongs in the 1800s, with all the other famous and barbaric practices of that century, such as waterboarding, Saladin's crusades and the ban on female drivers.

As the good people of Exposing Islam pointed out in their Halloween-themed flyers, halal slaughter "is an attack upon poor animals who frankly deserve better". Although, as a vegetarian, I have a problem with all forms of slaughter, even I can concede that non-halal, good standard non-halal slaughter is much more civilised and humane; a tender process in which the animal is shackled and hoist up, before having its throat slit, or a stick thrust into its chest, allowing it to gently and peacefully bleed out.

Let us not forget that non-halal abattoirs have a long history of ensuring a high quality of meat production, even occasionally providing consumers with unsolicited equine meat samples at no extra charge.

Prime Minister David Cameron was a great champion of wildlife protection, and a known lover of animals - particularly those he could hunt from horseback or shoot out of the air

Halal slaughter, by contrast, is so cruel it requires cattle and poultry to be alive at the time of killing; non-halal slaughter, one must assume, requires that animals be dead before we kill them. Halal-killed animals are also sliced at the neck, proving that all Muslims support the Islamic State group's signature move, one way or another.

Saturday's protesters brandished placards stating "halal slaughter funds terrorists" - though they did not point out how exactly they reached this conclusion. But I have an alternative theory: The only upside to halal slaughter is that the more hamburqas and shepbeards pies the terrorists are eating, the easier it will be to catch the fatties as they try to flee the scene.

Britain is well-known as one of the countries leading the fight for animal rights, with multiple European Union and domestic laws that protect animals, be they pets, fauna or food. Indeed, our former Prime Minister David Cameron was a great champion of wildlife protection, and a known lover of animals - particularly those he could hunt from horseback or shoot out of the air.

The Dunbia meat processing company has confirmed that they carry out halal slaughter, but that the animals are stunned before being killed. The UK Food and Standards Agency estimates that 88 percent of halal slaughter is pre-stunned. So you can understand why Exposing Islam decided to protest at this particular plant, where none of what they protest actually occurs.

A spokesperson for the group told the Belfast Telegraph that animals can become "very distressed during the barbaric process", and I have to say, the facts agree - 80 pecent of cattle survivors of slaughterhouses report that they find non-halal slaughter quite serene, even trance-like, and that the process evokes memories of prancing through meadows.

In a report released by the Food Standards Agency in 2016, there were 4,000 major breaches of animal welfare regulations over two years in the United Kingdom, including the boiling alive of chickens, the accidental suffocation and freezing of live cattle. Many examples included abattoir workers beating, shoving or kicking animals under their care.

I'm not saying all of these examples occurred in halal slaughterhouses, but it sounds like the kind of stuff that they'd like and I doubt you'd find anything like that in non-halal establishments.

The banning of halal slaughter is the only way we can ensure the safety of all animals, about which I care very deeply; my position on halal slaughter has nothing to do with what I think of Muslims. I have a Muslim colleague at work, and we get on fine, except during Ramadan when he refuses to join me for a cigarette break. But that aside, we get on fine. Actually, one time he refused to join the rest of the team on a stag do we had at a pigeon-shooting range and I don't mind telling you that I found it extremely rude.

Anyway, I digress. Under UK law, it is required that animals be stunned before they are slaughtered, but - and here is where I have a real bone to pick - they make an exception for Muslim slaughter. This is political correctness gone mad, and it is, frankly, stunning.

Muslims - as we all know - do not form part of British society, pay British taxes, or spend their money in British shops

We cannot allow the continued oppression of animals just to satisfy one group of people who do nothing but stir trouble and antagonise peaceful law-abiding Brits. Exposing Islam - Northern Ireland 2 has consistently stood up for the good practice of safe, painless and happy slaughter at abattoirs across the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - and this is no different.

It can't be one rule for us and another for them. 

The group also showed off their strong economic know-how in their arguments against halal slaughter. According to the group, halal slaughter "is an attack upon our economy as Muslims must be employed in the production to certify the product as halal. This means our own people losing more jobs".

Muslims - as we all know - do not form part of British society, pay British taxes, or spend their money in British shops. This is why it is so important to upload random photographs of brown, suspicious-looking people on our Facebook pages, as Exposing Islam expertly does. We must never let them forget that they do not count as part of our British society, no matter how many generations they have lived here for.

Although, as big-hearted Brits, we instinctively lament the loss of any life, eating meat is an unavoidable fact of life.

We are carnivores, and we need protein to survive. So while it would be a missed-steak to eliminate meat from our diets, we must do what we can to eliminate the pain and suffering that creatures needlessly suffer with halal slaughter, and replace it with good old-fashioned British slaughter.

Ruqaya Izzidien is a British-Iraqi freelance writer specializing in social and cultural affairs. Her work has been published in The New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC and Al Jazeera English, and her upcoming novel is entitled The Watermelon Boys.

Follow her on Twitter: @RuqayaIzzidien

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.

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