Halal meat is the strict religious slaughter of animals for Islamic consumption.
The traditional practice involves beheading a live animal by slicing the throat through the jugular vein, the carotid artery and windpipe.
Throughout the religious process, a Muslim recites verses of the Koran—the butchered meat is then considered to be “blessed.”
Unlike Western methods, the animals are not stunned prior to slaughter—making the killing slow, painful and unethical.
Animal welfare charity the RSPCS states:
We’re opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first ensuring it is rendered insensible to pain and distress.
We therefore believe that all animals should be stunned prior to slaughter. Evidence clearly indicates that slaughter without pre-stunning can cause unnecessary suffering.
While in many Western countries—such as the UK—the Halal method of slaughter goes against the legal ethical standards, Muslims—and Jewish—communities are exempt from the law due to their religious beliefs.
Although protecting religious freedom is a hallmark of Western civilization, there comes a point where one’s freedom to practice their spiritual beliefs conflicts with our broader social values.
Would UK law protect someone’s religious freedom if it involved engaging in sexual activities with children?
Clearly, there are limitations to how much “freedom” you’re allowed to exercise in the name of your religion—and certainly, those “freedoms” should never be tolerated if they violate the basic values of the host nation.
The double-standards of allowing a religious minority group to defy the law of the land is already bothersome, but what’s more troubling is the fact that halal meat is slithering its way into the aisles of your local supermarket and without your knowledge—or consent—you’ve most likely consumed it at some point.
Controversially, there are currently few regulations and laws that require the labeling of halal meat on food and the product packaging. This essentially means that non-Muslims are being force-fed the religious meat.
Without labeling this, it becomes impossible for the consumer to make an informed decision on their own dietary choices.
What’s worse is the shocking scale of the meat distribution: not only is it creeping into your grocery stores and restaurants, it’s making its way into schools, too, with many across the UK incorporating Halal into their meals.
This is particularly prevalent in areas with high Muslim populations and some schools are exclusively serving the meat to ALL its pupils by DEFAULT, regardless of their religious beliefs and unsurprisingly this has angered parents and the public across the country.
What is little known though is the fact that the market for Halal meat in the UK is a booming industry and the production is exceptionally larger than the Muslim population—this explains why so many non-Muslims are being served Halal.
So why is the Halal industry so big in the UK?
Well, as the Muslim population continues to increase, it is much more cost-effective for businesses to have all its meat religiously slaughtered.
As tailoring production to both religious and non-religious groups will be inconvenient and more expensive, thus the meat industry will inevitably favor the Halal method.
This is especially easy for them to get away with as the average non-religious person is currently unlikely to care enough to research where and how their food comes to their plate. And as retailers are currently not obligated to label food as Halal, most people will be oblivious to what they are consuming.
So, what can you do about this?
Well, ideally, banning Halal meat altogether would be the best option, as it simply has no place in western countries—especially the UK which has long been regarded as the “Mecca” of veganism.
But at the very least it should be made compulsory that all Halal products be labeled as such, that way the general public are able make informed decisions on whether or not they are happy with consuming religiously slaughtered meat.