The decision today by Lancashire County Council to only supply halal meat to schools if it has been pre-stunned is a difficult but necessary step if we are to see progress made in the area of Halal/Schechita slaughter.
It is surely an anachronism that the official UK government guidelines continue to state that you must stun all animals prior to slaughter “unless an animal is being religiously slaughtered for halal or kosher meat.” Why should the religious sensibilities of some Jews and Muslims be allowed to triumph when it comes to subjecting animals to unnecessary cruelty. We should call on our government to stand up for moral and ethical progress in the area of animal rights and end this cowardly exemption.
The Telegraph today quotes Abdul Hameed Qureshi – the Chair of the Lancashire Council of Mosques as saying: “[The RSPCA’s guidance] is most of the time based on feelings, it’s not scientifically conclusive.”
A spokesperson for the RSPCA told the Telegraph that they rejected this categorisation of their position, saying: “I utterly, completely refuse to cede that’s where our views come from. Ourselves, the British Veterinary Association and the Humane Slaughter Association signed a joint statement saying the only humane way to kill an animal is to stun it. There is countless scientific evidence showing that when an animal has its neck cut it feels quite considerable pain. The farm animal welfare council is of the opinion that the only humane way to kill an animal to stun it. You take New Zealand – everything is pre-stunned there, and it’s all Halal, it’s exported to countries in the Middle East and they all accept that it is Halal. We, for animal welfare reasons, would be quite happy if unstunned meat was banned across the UK.”
You can read more about the RSPCA’s position on stunning before slaughter on their website here.
It is understood that the National Secular Society has written to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove urging him to remove the religious exemption for Muslims and Jews from animal welfare legislation. It is highly doubtful that the idiot Gove – who is a hero to many in the Jewish community for his openly Zionist sympathies – will take any action.
Islam teaches that animals should not be mistreated when they are alive. Why do some blinkered Muslim and Jewish religious leaders continue therefore to insist on slaughtering animals while they are conscious without pre-stunning?
Several European governments including Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, no longer allow religious exemptions on the grounds that “animal rights come before religion.”
We quite rightly no longer allow dogmatic religious views to prevail over human rights when it comes to gay marriages or freedom of speech. Why should they be allowed to ride roughshod over animal rights? Jewish and Islamic law needs to adapt to incorporate our advance in scientific knowledge about animal pain and the use of stunning to alleviate unnecessary cruelty to animals.