The question has come up about halal meats. What is it and is it humane? The word halal means food that is permissible according to Islam law. Like kosher meat in which Jews eat, Muslims eat halal meat only. According to Muslims, this way of killing an animal is supposed to be respectful and gives thanks back to them. But one can’t help but ask how? How is killing an animal showing it respect?
Another question to consider is, is this really humane? The following are the procedures of halal meat:
- Any Moslem having reached puberty is allowed to slaughter after saying the name of Allah and facing Makkah (Mecca).
- The animal should not be thirsty at slaughter time.
- The knife must be sharp, to minimize the time and hence save the animal pain associated with the slaughtering process.
- The knife must not be sharpened in front of the animal because it may cause undue stress to that animal.
- The slaughter is to be done by cutting the throat of the animal or by piercing the hollow of the throat, causing the quickest death with the least amount of pain.
- The name of Allah has to be mentioned before or during slaughtering, since the Creator is the granter and taker of life; the name must be said by a member of the Moslem faith.
- Meat slaughtered by people of the Jewish or Christian faith (People of the Book) may also be eaten.
- The blood must be completely drawn from the carcass.
Reading through this it may seem that this is at least close to humane because the practices are no where near as extreme as those of factory farm. However, is it true that by a quick death, it’s a painless or fair one? Of course not. Though this is a step closer to being less of a cruel slaughter, humane slaughter does not exist. Just like you wouldn’t call murdering a human humane simply because you did it quickly or without them knowing to eliminate fear, murdering an animal in this procedure is not either.
Fortunately, living in the 21st century, there is no need for these cruel practices, regardless of how humane they may seem. Ending a life for taste or survival is no longer mandatory.
And though these Muslims claim that these animals surrender themselves under the name of Allah, is this really probable? What animal would be suddenly be okay with death due to the hearing of a word? This just seems like another way of lessen the guilt we feel of slaughtering these animals. But let’s face it, just because this is a long established custom for Muslims, doesn’t make it moral, humane, or acceptable.
Sure, beheading and hanging were also established customs, but do we still do them today? Why; because it causes pain and unnecessary suffering towards another being. After all, death penalties are bad enough, but consider granting a death on someone or something for no reason, is that not much worse?
Many could argue that this isn’t for no reason though, it’s for consumption. Though this is true, with the alternatives now available today, there’s really no reason for this gruesome act upon other living, feeling beings. (To read more about “humane” meat, go here; alternatives here).
The lesson of this is that regardless of how you kill an animal, it is murder. You can’t disguise murder because of the way you do it. Taking a life of another being, under religion or any other reason, should never be acceptable. In all cases of slaughtering, kosher, factory farm, or halal, the end result is all the same: unnecessary death.
To conclude, you can add halal, along with kosher, and obviously factory farming, to your list of oxymorons when it comes to being compassionate, humane, and making it acceptable to kill an animal, in this case for food.
For further information of halal (and kosher) ritual slaughterings, check out this great link that shows evidence of the cruelty behind them.