Halal row has little to do with animals

A word of warning. The following article written by Catriona Stewart is pretty descriptive so if you are squeamish, perhaps give it a miss. However, if you are concerned about animal welfare, but not yet a vegetarian or vegan, then perhaps you may like to read what all the fuss is about. Read on if you wish to know more.


I’m a vegetarian. I’m the world’s worst vegetarian – I eat fish and I eat around chicken. After reading up on methods of slaughter following this week’s halal meat fuss, I’m going vegan.

Consumers, it emerged, have been fed halal meat by stealth. Supermarket chains admitted selling halal meat without labelling it as such.

It also transpired KFC outlets around the country serve halal chicken, as do Nando’s restaurants and Pizza Express. Subway is also in on the swizz, having gone halal in 2007.

Suddenly carnivores everywhere are concerned about animal welfare.

Halal or haram, slaughter isn’t pleasant. Animals undergo a process of stunning then sticking. Cattle, sheep and pigs are stunned with a gun that fires a metal bolt into the brain. Sheep, calves and pigs have an ­electrical current passed through their brain from a large pair of tongs. Birds are hung upside down by their legs on metal shackles and dipped into an electric bath before their throats are slit.

According to Islamic principles of slaughter, dhabihah halal, a sharp knife must be used to kill animals for food. Butchers are required to give animals water before they kill them and say a prayer. They are also under strict instructions to cause as little pain and distress as possible.

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