Sunday, August 15

A revolt over Halal & Kosher Food

I came back home and found that somebody had handed over this crumpled up pamphlet to Diya outside her school.

This says:

To Parents

Did you know that your school is going to supply Muslim Halal meat for school dinners not just for Muslims but for all children. You dont know this because your Head Teacher, Katrina Mildner the Chair of Governors Ted Sturdy and Harrow Council choose not to tell you because you are of no importance. They are putting the Muslims beliefs before yours, the reason is they have no respect for you or your children or your beliefs.

English meat is slaughtered humanely so the animal doesn’t not suffer unlike the Halal method. The Bird of Animal have verses read from the Karan as part of the preparation before they slit it’s throat and let it bleed to death. This can take up to 370 seconds for a Calf to die. All the blood then has to be drained out. It is cruel and inhumane by our Western standards. Don’t let the Muslims force their barbaric ways on us, let’s stick to our principles and our way of life or we will lose them forever. This is our England.

You can tell the school you don’t want your child eating Halal. You can complain to the council. Or you can get other mothers and fathers to sign a petition and send this in.

Leave aside the painful grammar and strange punctuation, this made me wonder. What on earth is going on? This sounds ridiculous, but not for the stated reasons. Why haven't we been asked about this? They ask about everything ranging from temperature in the school rooms to colour of the damn school balls, but not about this. Curiously, this came just a few days after I read about the hoo haa about Kosher meat preparation in New Zealand. Here is one report on this issue. I quote:

On 28 May 2010, New Zealand became the fourth country in the world to outlaw shechita, the slaughtering of animals according to Jewish law to produce kosher meat and poultry.

New Zealand’s ban on kosher slaughter isn’t the first - it follows a position first adopted during the 1920s in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, and most infamously by Nazi Germany during the early 1930s.

The New Zealand ban comes about as a direct consequence, apparently deliberate, not to consider kosher slaughter under the new Animal Welfare Commercial Slaughter Code as a humane method, and to disregard the scientific consensus supporting the humaneness of the method. New Zealand’s position not only runs counter to preexisting New Zealand laws, but is also contrary to the legal position in Australia and the United States.

The new Code, announced by New Zealand Agriculture Minister David Carter and prepared by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), mandates that commercially killed animals must be stunned before slaughter to “ensure that the animals are treated humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge”. The Code took effect immediately following his announcement on 27 May.

So, what do we have here? We have a situation that the current standards of humanity and avoidance of senseless pain and cruelty is considered to be at variance with religious practise. And not just that, here in Harrow, because of somebody wanting to follow THEIR religion which leads to senseless pain and cruelty to animals, gets my daughter involved who doesnt even belong to that religion. Freedom of religion to freedom from cruelty to animals to freedom of choice, etc. etc. seem to have gotten into a right little tangle.

I hate cruelty to animals but then I love eating meat. So I would find it hypocritical to complain about animals being killed for meat anyway. But the question isnt about killing animals or not, its HOW they are killed. The fact that animals and plants do feel pain and have responses to it mean that that argument is not part of the equation, whether you are vegan or not, you will inflict pain on living creatures, both animals and plants.

But then, just because you have a donkey to carry your goods around does not mean that you can beat it mercilessly. Is that what the argument is with kosher or halal meat? There have been quite a lot of online and newspaper arguments about this. Here are some examples here, here, here. The Harrow Council has released a statement recently waffling around on this. The Jewish Chronicle is also worried about this.

Well, after due consideration, this is what I think. The fact that its religiously mandated is neither here nor there, there are many things in Islam and Judaism which are religiously mandated like slavery but we dont allow that, so the idea that everything that any odd sod religion says is fine has nothing to do with freedom of religion. There are rules and modern concepts about cruel and unjustified punishment and treatment towards animals. Here is a good overview of the laws in various countries. Here is a nice overview from the BBC on this. So you can take your halal and kosher food and shove it.

Second, no, I am not happy that my daughter is now a party to this inhumane and cruel practise without even consulting us. So Harrow Council, you can shove it too.

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