Halal meat debate ‘not racial prejudice’

John Eoin Douglas says the current campaign with regard to halal and kosher meat being labelled as such is a way of showing unacceptable prejudice against Muslims and Jews – and not about animal welfare – saying that if people really care about animal suffering they would be vegans.

Butchers selling halal meat. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Butchers selling halal meat. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

He then goes on to complain he cannot “procure a supply of pork that has been so killed”.

He is, therefore, showing his ignorance and confusing two issues –the welfare of the animal (as to whether it was slaughtered humanely) and whether or not the slaughter was carried out in a religious procedure.

English law requires that animals are stunned before being slaughtered. In accommodating other religions, it permits Muslims and Jews to slaughter animals according to their ritual practices. This being to do so without the animal being stunned. In the case of Muslims this also being with a prayer being said at the time of slaughter.

It is against their respective religion for Muslims or Jews to eat pork – no matter how the pig is slaughtered. Similarly, it is against their religion for Sikhs to eat beef and to eat meat from animals that have been ritually slaughtered. Is Mr Douglas saying this is racial prejudice? Would Mr Douglas think it right for vegans (or vegetarians) to be given food without them being informed it contains animal products?

Would he think it right for Muslims or Jews to be given food containing pork, without them being told it so does? It is not a case of racial prejudice, it is simply people wanting halal and kosher meat to be labelled as such, so they have an informed choice as to whether they purchase it or not.

Ray Hoppkrofft

Barker Street, Todmorden