Sunday Mirror columnist Carole Malone says that barbarism must not be allowed to hide behind religion whatever the faith
Hidden halal: Pizza Express
There is absolutely no way I want to eat animals that have died slowly and in agony in the name of religion.
Because I don’t respect ANY religion enough to have people or animals suffer for it.
Nor do I want to live in a society that donates millions to save dehydrated donkeys in Africa yet thinks it’s OK to slit the throats of terrified creatures here.
And I didn’t think I did. Until this week when it was revealed that Pizza Express, along with scores of restaurants and most of our supermarkets, is selling halal meat, too much of which comes from animals that have their throats cut while fully conscious and are then left to die.
And it’s happening on the basis of a lie – because nowhere in the Koran does it say animals have to be slaughtered in this way. No Muslim is bound by his or her religion to eat halal meat.
In fact, the Koran clearly says Muslims should be considerate to ALL God’s creations, which includes animals.
It also says that while the blood must be drained from the body it doesn’t have to happen while the animal is alive.
Insistence on that comes from fundamentalists and a source called Hadith – teachings written 300 years after the Prophet died which are often used to justify hardline views. And confusion about these teachings is being exploited to mislead both Muslims and non-Muslims.
It’s no secret now that in Britain you can justify any barbarism, any degradation in the name of culture or religion – female genital mutilation, the subjugation of women, and now this shameful treatment of animals.
To be clear here, I’m not angry just because supermarkets haven’t been up front about the fact they’re selling halal meat. I’m furious, appalled and disgusted that animals are still being killed inhumanely in a country that’s supposed to care about them.
And I don’t care that about 85 per cent of halal meat IS stunned – 15 per cent isn’t and that’s 15 per cent too many. And yes, the Jewish faith forbids the stunning of any animal before slaughter. Which is also cruel.
But let’s take religion out of the equation for a minute. As an enlightened society we cannot and must not allow the needless suffering of animals. The Brits have a heritage of animal welfare. We’re overrun with animal charities, so why hasn’t the Government condemned this barbaric practice?
And when Pizza Express insist halal isn’t cruel because the animals are stunned first – how can they be sure of that?
Do they have inspectors on site? I doubt it. Nor do I believe the statistics about how few are stunned. Not when there’s money and profit involved.
I’m not soppy about animals. I eat and enjoy meat. But I eat it expecting the animal to have been killed humanely.
And if the laws of this country say you can go to jail for starving a horse or a dog, then why not for slitting a chicken’s throat and watching for 10 LONG SECONDS as it dies?
And if cruelty to animals is illegal, why are there nearly 90 halal slaughterhouses here where this torment can be inflicted on animals in the name of religion?
Why have we become a country that’s afraid to fight for its own customs and beliefs for fear of offending the beliefs (in this case erroneously) of others?
I’ve heard the word “Islamophobia” levelled at people upset by the halal revelations. But this is NOT about Islamophobia – it’s about animal cruelty, pure and simple.
And any attempt to make it about religious prejudice is cynical opportunism.
Just imagine what those slaughterhouses are like, the terror of those creatures as they wait for their turn.
Which is why vets say killing the halal way can be cruel. As does the RSPCA and the Humane Slaughter Association.
And why, when so many other countries have banned ritual slaughter, is it still happening here?
I don’t want to eat meat if the animal has suffered. And I suspect most people – including many British Muslims – don’t either.
It’s time the Government showed some guts and made sure we don’t have to.
Source: Sunday Mirror