Why I refuse to eat Halal and Kosher meat

I’m no animal activist (as previous posts might indicate).  However I take point with some foods which I believe carry unnecessary cruelty to the animal in question. There are not many treatments that entail this consideration, but do include include veal (probably the one food I have the most likelihood of coming into contact with), unusual foreign treatments (which I doubt I’ll ever encounter) and more recently, halal and kosher meat.

It’s not like I’ve knowingly (forgive me for using a Daily Mail link) come across halal or kosher that often, but given the multicultural-ness of Australia, it should be somewhat prevalent. That’s not really the issue though. Neither is my disagreement with the live animal export scheme which is used to ship Australian born livestock to other countries, and subsequently I will not be exposed to. My refusal to eat this spiritually mandated food also has nothing to do with its religious significance insofar as a religious disagreement. I’m quite capable of tucking into a Christmas pudding, unleavened bread, Easter eggs and holy wafers (being that I don’t believe in transubstantiation, I don’t consider it cannibalism).

My refusal to eat halal and kosher meat is because it is unnecessarily cruel. While Australia, Britain and America all have strongly enforced and well thought out regulations pertaining to rendering animals unconscious before slaughter, kosher and halal livestock does not have such luxury, rather they have throats cut with their fullest consciousness available to them. My research has indicated that at least in Australia, special exemptions are made for such livestock. And while it is fair to say that some Jews and Muslims are comfortable with electric stunning, the link above also shows that legal loopholes are being abused by not allowing stunning to take place at all. I would rather not risk eating such meat and encourage such an unnecessarily barbaric practice, especially for religious inclinations I do not adhere to and sheltered by another clear cut case of special privilege via religious-based exemption laws. I personally feel laws that allow benefits to religion beyond that of secular individuals and organizations to be more prominently irksome in today’s culture (tax-free income being a big one), but for this reason alone I wouldn’t stop eating halal and kosher. Rather, this decision is based purely on its cruelty.

UPDATE: I recently had an interview with an MSA representative on halal, you can see the interview questions and discussion here.

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~ by freeze43 on January 16, 2011.

6 Responses to “Why I refuse to eat Halal and Kosher meat”

  1. …sorry to say this, but reading your other posts and perspectives on religion, are you sure you are not doing this as another anti-religious statement?? i’m sure that you are conscious of animal suffering, but not particularly convinced that it constitutes 100% of your reasoning to do this…

  2. This is not a religious sentiment, as explained in the post wherein I’m quite comfortable eating other religious foods.

    I’ll put my rejection of halal meat in another way. Imagine halal did not exist, that there was no religious requirement to butcher an animal in that way (that is, without rendering the animal unconscious before exsanguination). Now lets say that you were presented with two kinds of meat. One, at no extra cost, was derived from an animal that was stunned before slaughter. The other was not and was conscious for the few minutes it took to die, in undeniable pain. Which one would you pick?

    That, to a non-religious person, seems to have an easy answer. The availability of halal is suitably low in this country, and I feel comfortable with abstaining from eating it even if finding something else may be somewhat tricky (but that is unlikely).

    The only way I am upset with the religiosity of this issue is its corollary of special slaughter exemptions. The above hypothetical situation would probably not exist simply due to non-stunned slaughter being completely outlawed.

  3. I think you have to “Lighten up” freeze. We ALL kill to stay alive and that is a bargain we make. “How” we do it is, in the end, irrelevant.
    I once went to a slaughter house in Iowa. The cows get pushed into a line and the poor guy up front gets it in the head. A chain is wrapped around his foot and he is hoisted into the air where his belly is slit open….. still kicking. As his intestines spill out onto the floor the chain moves him along. ALL the other cows waiting in line have a full, clear view of what is happening. You can see the terror in their eyes and hear it in their sounds. Next stop… hamburger.
    I would be far more concerned with how they LIVE than how they die.

    I’m convinced that cows, pigs,…. can all smell what is going on and know where they are going. If they are “stunned” it’s only to find out what’s coming next. Once you have made the decision to EAT them… perhaps expressing “feelings” about how the dirty deed is done could be seen as silly.

    • I refer you, mrs. neutron garage, to one of my earliers posts: “We may have put too much into Animal Liberation” as to why I feel the slaugtering method demands us to be as humane as possible, even while we are ethical OK with doing so.

  4. I’m surprised by both skeptic and Mrs. Neutron’s comments. Perhaps it’s because I know freeze personally, and can confirm that he’s a genuine animal lover (though, as he says, not an animal activist). Even if, as Mrs. Neutron says, animals slaughtered with the “stun” method experience some fear and pain anyway, this is no reason to chose a practice such as Halal slaughter which increases suffering needlessly. I applaud freeze’s stance.

  5. […] the procedure of halal is somewhat health-conscious, my previous argument, that it is unnecessarily cruel and we have better hygiene measures in place, still stands. Despite […]

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