Animal Rights Should Come Before Religious Beliefs

halal slaughterhouse

Main Image: Chickens being ‘bled out’ in an halal slaughterhouse.

The British Veterinary Association, the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming and the National Secular Society all want to see an end to the religious slaughter of animals or to slaughter without pre-stunning. However, an estimated 3% of cattle, 10% of sheep and goats, and 4% of poultry slaughtered in Britain were not pre-stunned.

Some 114 million animals are killed annually in the UK using the halal method, while a further 2.1 million are killed under the shechita method, with the value of the halal market estimated at between £1bn and £2bn. The total number of cattle killed by shechita in any one year is 20,000.

Unfortunately our elected politicians do not seem to care about the suffering of millions of cattle, sheep and chickens who are slaughtered without pre-stunning every year in this country. Even though the Government introduced a Bill to formally recognise animals as sentient beings, our leaders shied away from tackling the ritual slaughter issue.

David Cameron the former Prime Minister, is on record as saying that he was happy to eat halal meat, and he promised to keep exemptions for religious purposes such as halal and Jewish shechita for kosher meat.

His former Deputy Prime Minister at the time Nick Clegg, is also on record as saying that stopping this type of slaughter would “remove the right of Jewish communities and Muslim communities in this country, to stick to their religious beliefs about how they prepare food and how animals are slaughtered”.

After losing the General Election (and his seat), Clegg moved to the United States and was appointed by Mark Zuckerberg as Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications of Facebook, Inc.

The issue has hit the headlines once again after it was announced that Muslims living in Belgium will appeal the country’s prohibition of halal animal slaughtering by taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

“The Belgian Muslim Executive and the Coordination Council of Islamic Institutions of Belgium will challenge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg the ban imposed by the Flemish and Walloon government on the ritual slaughter,” the two organisations wrote in a press statement issued on 17th December 2021.

The move comes after the Belgian Constitutional Court approved the ban on ritual slaughtering in October.

In 2019, new legislation on the protection and welfare of animals entered into force in the country’s Wallonia and Flanders regions. The law banned slaughter by traditional Muslim and Jewish rites by requiring butchers to stun the animals before cutting them.

Muslim and Jewish organisations challenged the bill, arguing that the ban on ritual slaughtering is against freedom of religion, but the top Belgian court dismissed their appeal.

“Being cruel to animals is a sin in Islam, and we do not permit any form of cruelty in abattoirs certified by us”.

Halal Authority Board

Below is an undercover video shot by animal rights activists in an Halal slaughterhouse in Yorkshire a few years ago. Please do not view if you have a weak stomach.

Sheep being kicked, hacked at and hurled into structures at Bowood Lamb abattoir in Yorkshire

The footage gathered by campaigning group Animal Aid shows sheep being kicked, threatened with knives and thrown into solid structures. In one case a worker appears to be pinning a sheep’s head down with his foot.

Four slaughtermen at Bowood Lamb, a halal slaughterhouse in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, had their operating licences suspended and one worker was sacked.

In 2011, the Netherlands briefly joined several EU countries where ritual slaughter is illegal, including Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia. The Dutch Senate reversed the ban in 2012, citing freedom of worship. Poland also outlawed the practice in 2013 but has since scaled back the ban to include only meat for export.


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