Halal meat: Is it worth it?

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In recent weeks, there has been a debate in how our eating meats are being produced. Specifically, Popular Newspapers; The Sun and the Daily Mail, allege that restaurants and shops across the UK, including Pizza Express, Tesco, KFC and Subway, have been selling halal meat to customers “without telling them”. Is this a bad thing? Well first we must understand what Halal means.

Ḥalāl; according to Google, is any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates not only food and drink as permissible according to Islamic law, but also all matters of daily life. The opposite of this word is haraam; which means forbidden. However; in the context of food, Traditional halal meat is killed by hand and must be blessed by the butcher. The Muslim method of slaughter, known as zabiha, involves an animal having its throat, windpipe and the blood vessels around its neck slit with a surgically sharp instrument. The blood is then allowed to drain from the body. The area of religious law that details the method of slaughter also contains information on how the animal must be treated during its life.

So, in reality, there really is nothing wrong with these companies using Halal meat. In fact, I see this as a positive marketing campaign. I don’t really understand why these companies promo…oh wait. It’s to do with religion, isn’t it?

Well, to an extent, yes. But there are other reasons as well.

I’ll start with the Religious aspect; a topic which won’t leave this blog. Yes, the meat is blessed by the butcher, and yes, Halal is an Islamic custom. I personally have nothing wrong with things being Halal, nor do I have problems with any Religious customs, but there are a lot of people in this country who do have problems; most notably the Far Right wing ultra Nationalist crazies. Their argument is that ‘OOOH, THEY’RE ENFORCING THEIR LAWS ON OUR COUNTRY, THIS ISN’T MY BRITAIN, THEY’VE INVADED US’. Yeah, and isn’t it funny that The Sun and the Daily Mail; two of my least favourite papers (which are Right Wing/Populist), are the ones who are reporting this. Damn scare mongerers.

The other point; which is not really religious but a moral debate, is that it is still killing animals. As previously stated, a sharp knife is used to cut the windpipe, and to kill the animal in the most humane way possible. But; when you have a large slaughterhouse, it is harder to keep the meat Halal. And, this law does say that if it isn’t done properly, you can’t eat the meat. You get what I am saying, it isn’t easy to make sure meat is Halal in practice.

As a meat-eater (who writes Raise the Steaks) and as a moral person, I want to make sure that animals are treated well by people. I don’t want my meat to come from a dark, crowded factory, with overfattened cows, given steroids, and then killed in the most brutal ways. Halal meat is a better way to go. Is Halal meat worth it? Yes. As people, we need to forget the religious aspect, and just try to do things better, more efficiently, and more humanely.

 

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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