Customers and animal welfare groups in the UK are in an uproar over the revelation that much of the meat sold in England is obtained through Halal slaughter practices.
Halal is the traditional method of slaughter used by Muslims. It is similar to Kosher slaughter in that it requires animals be bled to death without being stunned first. In most western countries, cows are stunned before being bled to death.
Customers claim it is unethical that businesses did not specifically inform customers that the meat they serve is Halal.
Animal welfare groups such as PETA, as well as customers, are outraged that the meat they are eating doesn’t meet what they consider to be the modicum of compassion that must be given to animals destined to become food.
In the course of the debate, far too much attention has been paid to the cultural and religious aspects of the situation and not enough has been paid to the non-issue that different methods of slaughter actually represent.
There is a huge misrepresentation here, which is that certain methods of slaughter are “humane”, and other methods are not. There is no method of raising an animal to become food that is humane, kind or compassionate. The outrage over a minor difference in technique, not only directs an unfair amount of criticism at Islam, but gives those doing the criticism an undue sense of self-satisfaction.
The prejudice and scrutiny directed at Islam has only increased in the west since 2001. A media outrage over Halal meat offers the public one more point of contention between Islamic culture and the west. This is also an opportunity for proponents of so-called “humane” methods of slaughter to aggrandize the differences in technique in order to claim a moral high ground.
No one who eats meat is in a position to criticize another person who eats meat for not being compassionate enough. If customers were genuinely concerned about the well-being of animals, they would cease to eat animals.
Media groups do more harm than good when they criticize specific methods of slaughter and do not address the larger problem — which is that animals are being slaughtered at all. By condemning certain methods of slaughter there is the implication that other methods are acceptable.
Do not allow yourself to be swayed by accusations that certain groups, Jews, Muslims, or anyone else is more cruel to animals than other groups. The differences in methods represent only an arbitrary and vapid distinction that has no moral foundation. If you care about animals, take a stand against all methods of slaughter and all methods of animal exploitation and torture.
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