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A lot of my friends tell me that in Islam-dominated countries meat is not slaughtered the same, and it is done using "halal" methods which basically means the animal is killed right away and dies a "painless death." 

I think this argument is utterly ridiculous.

For one thing, one cannot be 100% sure that the "correct methods" are always being used.  In fact, I just finished watching some videos which prove otherwise.

Secondly, there is obviously some form of torture involved with getting the animal to the right place... I mean it doesn't just decide to wander into a slaughterhouse and think, "why not put my head in this nook and wait for a bit..." 

 

Some people even believe that the meat is healthy if it has been slaughtered this way, and unhealthy if not.  And I've had a friend say to me he doesn't eat pig because pig is "filthy" and "disgusting"... and that cow you're eating is not???

 

People leave me feeling very puzzled sometimes...  if not causing an animal pain is SOOOOOOOOOOO freaking important to you, than WHY THE HECK TO YOU KILL IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!?!? 

 

halal-labelled meat products, despite peoples' intentions, is ultimately just another way to make a profit.

It's no different from people saying they only buy "free range chickens" or "local organic grass-fed beef".    There's this nice idea behind it, and then there's the reality. 

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Oh My GOD. Honestly, religious people and their debates about meat eating (not talking about religious people who thinkciritically). Jenni, I see NO point in even trying to make sense of what people use religion to make sense of. It just doesn't make sense.

Yeah, I guess there reallly isn't much of a point... It's as though they go LOOKING for ways to make sense of things in their religion.  Kind of like, if you look for the number 5, you will see it everywhere.  If you go looking for justifications, you will find them, even if they are meaningless.

I am a Christian, and the justification of eating meat for religion is GARBAGE!

My best friend is Muslim (yes you heard that right), and while not vegan, she agrees that religion does NOT justify killing animals!

 

Just a side note: I catch flack from other Christians when speaking of my lifestyle, and I have to just let it go. As DR says, "Share, don't care". If I cared I would be arguing forever. And there are some amazing religious people out there, we are just not as easy to come by as the 'norm'. :)

Yeah, that's cool.  I have a ton of Muslim friends which is why i started this discussion.  I'm not religious at all and don't particularly like the idea of it, but when the few "amazing religious people" (such as yourself ;) ) can read between the lines, actually veganism can be super related to your religion!  I like the line i saw on freelea's fb profile that says "what part of 'thou shall not kill' don't you understand?" 

halal not being cruelty is typically and conveniently delusional.

there is nothing humane about it.

(of course, there is nothing humane about non-vegan in general either - it is the blatant imprisonment, exploitation, abuse and murder of sentient beings).

 

here are some short articles on the matter from different viewpoints (to get a flavor for the logic different interest groups utilize):

http://www.hvk.org/articles/1202/147.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/2977678.stm

http://www.mathabah.org/Qurbani-Udhiyyah/is-the-halal-status-affect...

 

this article exposes the religious rationalization:

http://bd.sudeshkumar.org/2010/11/halal-cruelty-by-islamic-faith.html

text copied below.

 

in friendship,

prad

 

Halal: Cruelty by Islamic faith practitioner

 

If you are engaged in an act of cruelty, there is an easy, effective way to silence your critics and snatch some space to carry on. Tell us all that your religion requires you to do it, and you are "offended" by any critical response. Erect an electric wire fence around your nastiest actions and call it "respect".

 

There's a good example of this religious modus operandi playing out on a dinner table near you – and this week, we found out it is becoming more and more common. In Britain, it is a crime to kill a conscious cow or sheep or chicken for meat by slashing its throat without numbing it first. The reasons are obvious. If you don't numb an animal, it screams as you hack through its skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and major nerve trunks, and then it remains conscious as it slowly drowns in its own blood – a process that can take up to six minutes. So we insist that an animal is stunned before its throat is slashed, to ensure it is deeply unconscious. There isn't much humanity in our factory farming system, but this is – at least – a tiny sliver of it, at the end.

 

But there is a loophole in the law. You are allowed to skip all this and slash the throats of un-numbed, screaming animals if you say God told you to. If you are Muslim, you call it "halal", and if you are Jewish you call it "kosher". Back in the Bronze Age, or the deserts of sixth-century Arabia, it was sensible to act this way. You needed to know your meat was fresh and the animal was not sick, so you made sure it was alive and alert when you killed it. As Woody Allen once said, it wasn't so much a commandment as "advice on how to eat out safely in Jerusalem". But we have much better ways of making sure meat is fresh and healthy now. Yet for many religious people it has hardened into a dogma, to be followed simply because it was laid down in their "holy" texts long ago by "God".

 

Of course, they claim that this practice isn't cruel at all. Henry Grunwald, chairman of the main body overseeing the certification of kosher meat, Shechita UK, says that when you slash an animal's throat "there is an instant drop in blood pressure in the brain. The animal is dead." Similarly, Raghib Ali, of the Oxford Islam and Muslim Awareness Project, says: "It's not cruel, it is better for the animal."

 

This has been proven by science to be false. The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) is the Government's senior panel of independent scientific experts on this area, and their investigation found that "the prevailing scientific consensus that slaughter without pre-stunning causes very significant pain and distress". The FAWC chairwoman, Dr Judy MacArthur Clark, explains: "To say [the animal] doesn't suffer is quite ridiculous."

 

To give just one example: after you cut a calf's throat, in 62 per cent of cases, large clots form at the back of its carotid arteries, which means blood pressure to the brain massively slows and the animal doesn't black out at all. It stays conscious as it bleeds to death from its throat in agony.

 

Kosher butchers never numb their animals. Most halal butchers now use some stunning, but the RSPCA warns that it is at a much lower dosage to guarantee the animal is still alive when it is killed – so it doesn't properly protect them from pain. The attempts by religious people to explain this away and claim it is in fact a kindness to the animal are a pseudo-science: the intelligent design of animal welfare. That's why making meat like this is a crime in countries from Spain to New Zealand, where an ethnically Jewish Prime Minister banned it this year.

 

Yet in Britain this kind of animal cruelty is becoming standard. Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic abandonment of the numbing of animals before killing them, in the name of "respect" for a religious minority. The BBC's You And Yours programme says that halal meat now "accounts for around a quarter of the UK's meat trade". It is served unlabelled and as standard meat in Wembley Stadium, Twickenham, on all British Airways flights, at Nando's, Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza and even swanky Ascot racecourse. There has been a huge expansion, then, in the suffering of living creatures – and we are supposed to applaud it as an advance for tolerance.

 

The halal and kosher meat industries are fighting even tepid proposals by the European Union to ensure that all meat made from unstunned animals must be clearly labelled. They claim this will render their businesses "economically unviable". Isn't that an extraordinary confession – that if people knew what they were buying, the companies would go bust?

 

Atheists who criticise religion are constantly being told we have missed the point and religion is really about compassion and kindness. It is only a handful of extremists and fundamentalists who "misunderstand" faith and use it for cruel ends, we are told with a wagging finger. But here's an example where most members of a religion choose to do something pointlessly cruel, and even the moderates demand "respect" for their "views". Their faith makes them prioritise pleasing an invisible supernatural being over the screaming of actual living creatures. Doesn't this suggest that faith itself – the choice to believe something in the total absence of evidence – is a danger that can lead you up needlessly nasty paths?

 

Britain is famously a nation of animal lovers who turn doe-eyed and gooey at the sight of any furry creature. So why are we sitting silently while our treatment of many of our animals regresses to the standards of the sixth century?

 

It is true that, at the moment, there is a frightening rise in real bigotry against Muslims and, to a lesser but still significant extent, Jews. Some people who object to the rise of halal meat try to fit it into a preposterous narrative where Britain is somehow being "taken over" by the 4 per cent of its population who are Muslim, presumably via the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. I have written many articles against this resurgent bigotry, and I can see why some people would be shy about anything that would look like piling on.

 

But the only consistent position is to oppose viciousness against these minorities, and to oppose viciousness by these minorities. The proponents of halal and kosher meat are choosing to inflict terrible and unnecessary pain on living creatures every day. It would be condescending to treat them as victim-children who are exempt from moral debate – and it would be a betrayal of the real victims here: the sentient creatures having their throats cut.

 

We need to be much more self-confident in criticising religious claims. Your ideas do not deserve any special status because you say they came from an invisible, supernatural being.

 

No, we don't respect your desire to needlessly torment animals because some hallucinating desert nomads did it centuries ago. We don't respect it at all. You can cry that we are "persecuting" you if we stop you committing acts of cruelty if you want.

 

It's what the religious – Christian, Jew and Muslim alike – did when we stopped you tormenting women and gays and anybody else you could get your hands on. One of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God.

Great articles prad!!

I just put up a video on my facebook wall about halal meat, and i just posted these articles on the same thread.  I know it will be very controversial as many muslims and other relgious people get very offended and/or taken aback if anyone dare question their methods. 

But then they follow religious leaders making statements such as the above?  geesh.

 

put your fb link into this thread and feel free to post comments that you get here.

also, if you need support in answering, there are several 30baders on fb who will join you ... and you are already working with one of our finest from what i understand.

 

in friendship,

prad

Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=1486108...

 

 

Unfortunately I have not really gotten any super constructive comments.  One person said "ask the tiger to stop eating meat" another had the typical, "we are all gonna die soon and the environment will collapse anyway so i should do what i enjoy now" argument.  While one person quite condescendingly said I was spreading misinformation and that i should tone down my aggressiveness and argue my point from more "objective" angles to which i responded, if i'd wanted a debating lesson i would have asked, and he was not staying on topic (and he didn't respond yet).  Part of me thinks he was honestly trying to help me argue in a more effective way.  But as he DID simultaneously respond to the actual argument, i have a feeling it's his way of getting out of it, or perhaps lightening his disagreement(s).

 

BUT on a positive note, one person said "i will stop eating this kind of meat" (but i don't think he really got the point i was making that it doesn't matter which kind of meat it is...)

I've gotten 3 likes on comments i've made although those people have not participated in the discussion, (which as i said is not yet much of an interesting discussion), and one "like" on the video.   

 

I've been having my doubts since posting the video, as it is not necessarily from a reliable source and the only thing is that the meat is exported from australia to the middle east...

i guess i just wanted it to say "halal" because i knew it would get attention.... this video was more just "advertisement" to start a discussion.

 

next time i will try to post a more reliable video...

Unfortunately I have not really gotten any super constructive comments.

 

talk to jacob and markus, jenni.

they are out there and will no doubt join you.

 

in friendship,

prad

I hear you, Jenni.

I live in a Muslim country and the halal argument is usually the first one thrown at me, even before the protein argument! ;) Religion, like all our cultural institutions, is largely infiltrated by our animal-herding ideals. This is especially true of Abrahamic or Judeo-Christian religions (which also include Islam). Just look at the whole legend of Abraham's sacrifice, and you can see how deeply ingrained the concept of slaughter and animal sacrifice is in these religions. 

Of course, the idea that an animal killed under strict halal standards doesn't suffer is simply ludicrous. I don't care how many bearded butchers bless me before slitting my throat, I will still fear for my life and it will still hurt like hell. But the idea of halal - a word that literally means "permitted," is simply a technique used to decrease the stigma or guilt people feel when massacring defenseless animals. The concept is ancient and has been practiced for centuries. When human beings go against their innate compassion and feast on flesh, they will need many distancing devices and coping mechanisms to repress the guilt. Halal, Kosher, etc. are simply a few of many such mechanisms. The issue is far more complicated than can be summarized in a paragraph or two. It goes to the depths of our culture and our beliefs, and seeing as you cannot walk past religion on a sunny day without offending someone, it is a virtual mine field. 

Also, keep in mind that in the vast majority of cases, the halal standard itself is not even applied. Animal cruelty is rampant in Arab and Islamic nations. I'm currently working on a project to promote veganism in the Middle East and have researched the issue extensively. All I can tell you is that there is essentially no difference between most "halal" killing operations and the worst factory farms and slaughterhouses in the West. 

the idea of halal - a word that literally means "permitted," is simply a technique used to decrease the stigma or guilt people feel when massacring defenseless animals. The concept is ancient and has been practiced for centuries. When human beings go against their innate compassion and feast on flesh, they will need many distancing devices and coping mechanisms to repress the guilt.

 

this is the essence of your brilliant post, phentehal!

the 'happy meat' syndrome permeates history because everyone knows it is wrong and burying one's head in denial is an awkward position.

 

as the saying goes:

Those who protest against compassion the strongest, have to work the hardest to imprison their conscience.

http://towardsfreedom.com/veggiechess/goVegquotes.html

 

in friendship,

prad

 

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