We all have heard of the word “Halal”, do we know what goes in to the process of Halal?
Halal is the Arabic word for “lawful” or “permitted”. Halal is the word that is used in reference to foods and drinks that are permissible for Muslims to eat or drink under Islamic Shariah law. In regard to halal, there is also a term ‘Haram’ that signifies the food that can not be eaten by Muslims. Such food includes pork meat, blood, alcoholic drinks etc. and most importantly the animals which are not killed by the process of Halal. Halal guidelines also forbid consumption of some carcass parts like the testicles and bladder. So Muslims eat only that food which comes from a supplier that uses halal practices. Specifically, the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim who, during the process, will recite a dedication, known as tasmiya or shahada. (invoking the name of Allah) and then saying three times "Allahu akbar" (Allah is the greatest and the only God). Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and must face Mecca. Then, the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck, without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained. This is considered a very inhumane and painful process because the animal dies a very slow and painful death. Since the rules dictate (among other things) that the animal must be alive and conscious at the moment its throat is slit.
‘In the Holy Quran, it says that the animal should listen to the prayers of Allah. If it’s unconscious, then it won’t be able to do that.’
Here is a live report of such a slaughter:
“The slaughter according to Islamic law - the throat cut with a rough sawing action.The cut half severs the head but doesn’t kill the animal.The animal slides on the ground, got onto its knees, regained its feet with its throat gaping and blood pouring from its throat. And then it ended up charging towards me with its throat cut. It was just appalling. To stop it getting up again, the slaughterman slashes the tendon on its rear leg. This steer is vocalising a lot at this point. The tongue is coming out, so clearly distressed. You can see from his eye that he's distressed. These are all behaviours that are indicative of fear, anxiety, distress. Lamb after lamb has its throat sliced open while fully conscious. They make pitiful bleating and gurgling sounds as they choke on their own blood. It’s a chilling sound that, once heard, stays with you for days.”
Quranic verses regarding halal foods include: 2:173, 5:5, and 6:118-119, 121. I don’t think any other religion describes topics like the method of killing of animals, that too in so ghastly manner. The requirement to invoke Allah's name is a must for slaughter of any animal in halal. Kosher meats, which are consumed by Jews, are permitted to be eaten by Muslims because there is a similarity between their method of slaughter and halal meat.
On particular festivals, the ritual involves binding the animal, typically around the muzzle or legs, and slitting the throat. The animal will eventually bleed out in a painful and gruesome display. Many times the animal is beaten, sometimes to death, before the blood is drained. Halal slaughter during the month of Eid is performed as a public ritual, often in the open streets of Muslim communities. Blood from the countless sacrifices pools in the public squares and is tracked around by spectators.
The rising global objections to Halal
In western countries there is a requirement of stunning an animal before slaughter , in India the killing of animal is done in a swift blow called “Jhatka ‘ where instant beheading, with one single strike reduces the pain for the animal. Globally, halal food has been criticized by animal rights activists.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) says that “all animals should be effectively stunned before slaughter to improve the welfare of these animals” and killing animals without stunning them causes “unnecessary suffering”. But citizens are now concerned that the inhumane halal method might be increasingly being practised in Britain. The latest census suggests there are at least 2.7 million Muslims in the UK, with a spending power estimated in the region of £20bn.
Muslims think that the practice of pre-stunning is contrary to the specifications of zabiha and prefer to eat halal meat that has not been pre-stunned. Additionally these Muslims came together and campaigned for the traditional halal method.
Muslim authorities like Halal Food Authority (HFA), a non-profit organisation that monitors adherence to halal principles in the UK, on the other hand example insist that stunning cannot be used to kill an animal. This has lead many slaughterhouses to move to halal processes so they do not lose Muslim customers.
This means, not only might the Islamic halal method being used on the animals , the unsuspecting citizens might even be consuming halal meat.
The Halal Food Authority, now estimates that a staggering 25% of the entire UK meat market is halal. But Muslims are about 5% of the UK population, therefore there is as much as 5 times more halal meat than Muslims.
In Feb. 2015 a horrific footage was secretly filmed in an abattoir in North Yorkshire that raised anger among animal rights activists. This gruesome video showed sheep being hacked and tortured to death. The film showed the Muslim workers kicking sheep in the face and hurling them into solid structures. Not using pre stunning method, the rising halal slaughter and increasing animal cruelty being caught at these halal slaughterhouses have angered the animal rights groups.
People are now also demanding clear labelling of food as unsuspecting population is being fed halal food. The British government meanwhile has no intention of banning religious slaughter, may be due to the large Muslim population living there. This Muslim appeasement is a tool to secure Muslim votes in elections.
Stunning of livestock has been mandatory in the EU since 1979, but member states can grant exemptions for religious slaughter. Some countries, including Denmark, have decided to ban non-stunning slaughter altogether. Concern about slaughtering, without prior stunning, has resulted in the religious slaughter of animals being banned in Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
In Australia, the national standard for meat production requires that all animals must be effectively stunned (unconscious) prior to slaughter. The vast majority of halal slaughter in Australia complies with this standard,. But there are a small number of abattoirs in Australia that have been granted permission from the relevant State or Territory food authority to conduct religious slaughter without prior stunning – for either Halal or Kosher (Jewish slaughter) purposes.
Australians are also rising against export of live meat after some Gazans were filmed doing cruelty to the cattle.
Concerns of Social observers in Australia
Along with a strong request on ban of live animals export to Islamic countries. Not only food but a large number of products including creams and soaps , chocolate etc. are now being certified as halal ie a check to see if any of these contain prohibited products like alcohol for example . This leads to a demand of certification on all consumer non durables as halal. This halal certification is Raking up $20 to $30 million a year in Australia alone.
The anti halal campaigners in Australia insist that certification pushes up prices and this money goes to fund ISLAMIC Charities which have link to terror groups like Hamas. Besides these the Halal sytsem also gives rise to some not-so-obvious problems.
1. Jobs reserved exclusively for Muslims
Sharia requires that the animals should be killed by Muslims only which leads to employment generation for Muslims in the west. So, even if you are not educated enough, if you are a Muslim, one safe career opportunity is exists for you – of a slaughterman.
2. Infidels paying zakat : Zakat is a small percentage of earnings that Muslims put aside for donating to their Mosque for charity. Recent findings reveal a large fraction of this global money goes towards funding terrorist activities . Now, even in those countries where Muslims population is low in percentage, unsuspecting governments fall privy to the demands of Muslims organizations for halaal certification on all foods, this certification is obviously provided by a Muslim body only.They charge a fees and check the products of a company for halal compliance. Thus the companies end up paying a huge total to these organizations (or in case the government funds this body then the local citizens end up funding these bodies) who allegedly use these funds for zakat and terrorist activities. This is equivalent to taxing non Muslims to pay for Muslim schools
Such concerns now being openly raised in Sri Lanka and Australia among other countries.
3. Impose sharia on unsuspecting people by making them eat halal food ( along with paying zakat ). Even in India the local hot dog stands proudly claim to carry halal food, whereas halal food is strictly forbidden under Hindu law.
Bodu Sena is a a Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist monastic organisation based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Which wants to do away entirely with Halal certification in their country claiming on similar allegation that this is used to funding terrorism , enforce ‘Muslim ritualistic food ‘ on rest of the population with the ultimate aim of imposing Sharia in Sri Lanka
More and more international brands in India are now suspected to be selling halal food KFC, you may find the Halal logo on their counters if you are observant enough . Moreover India recently introduced a halal cosmetic range
After going through all these facts, one gets a feeling that no religion should be allowed to dictate such painful and merciless killing of animals. Can’t the festivals be enjoyed without giving painful deaths to poor animals?
Many deeply religious souls in the West too eat meat because it is sanctioned in their holy books.
However, India is a Hindu majority nation and Hinduism teaches compassion for all living beings. Various animals forms are worshipped by Hindus who're the closest thing to paganism in the modern world.
Respecting all forms of life is integral to Sanatan Dharma. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism agree in their support of non-violence and a vegan lifestyle.
Jains follow dietary codes regulating even the types of plants they eat. Hinduism too believes that vegetarianism promotes a healthy spiritual life.
It is high time for the animal rights activists and humanitarians take a stand against such killings of poor animals and put an end to this inhuman practice being carried out in name of religion