Friday, 19 November 2010

Yet more needless cruelty in the name of religion

Johann Hari has written an excellent article in the Indy today, which was a real eye-opener for me.  I had no idea that the slaughter method used to produce halal and kosher meat is so cruel, and it turns out a quarter of the meat sold in the UK is prepared in this way.

In Britain, it is a crime to kill a conscious cow or sheep or chicken for meat by slashing its throat without numbing it first. The reasons are obvious. If you don't numb an animal, it screams as you hack through its skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and major nerve trunks, and then it remains conscious as it slowly drowns in its own blood – a process that can take up to six minutes. So we insist that an animal is stunned before its throat is slashed, to ensure it is deeply unconscious. There isn't much humanity in our factory farming system, but this is – at least – a tiny sliver of it, at the end.
But the rules for producing kosher and halal meat require the animal to be fully conscious while its throat is cut, and to pretend that this is not painful is simply to ignore the evidence.

And you might be surprised to learn that quite a few organisations use meat prepared in this way, presumably so they can comfortably part muslims and jews from their money.  But of course, the meat is never labelled kosher or halal because the rest of us might just object to eating food produced with needless cruelty.
It is served unlabelled and as standard meat in Wembley Stadium, Twickenham, on all British Airways flights, at Nando's, Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza and even swanky Ascot racecourse.
 We need to start making some noise about this.  It really isn't acceptable to use religion as an excuse for cruelty to sentient beings. This isn't the 6th century.

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