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Halal/Kosher meat

Laws and regulations are for fools to blindly follow and for the wise to interpret

If we are to find the true intentions of the old religious documents/laws and fully understand them to be able to properly apply them centuries later, today, we need to take account of their context.  For example, lazy feminists are often thoroughly wound-up when they read that Paul says, in the New Testament of the Bible, women should not cut their hair short/shave it and should wear a hat in church.  I say ‘lazy’, because if they bothered to research this apparently outrageous guidance, they would find the advice to be entirely reasonable given at that time, a woman cutting their hair short or shaving it, or not wearing a hat would have been regarded as a prostitute.

Nowadays most UK Christian women don’t worry about the length of their hair or whether or not to wear a hat in church because the cultural context has changed – so a woman going to church without a hat would not be regarded by the informed as being disrespectful.  In summary, the advice was right then but irrelevant nowadays – other than all of us, men and women alike, might take on board the general gist of dressing respectfully for church and therefore understanding and respecting reasonable requests not to have too much flesh on show by wearing beachwear when visiting a cathedral or church during a summer holiday.

It is reasonable to assume that when the Halal and Kosher slaughter rules were incorporated into their respective religions, they were likely considered best practice at that time: humans for hygiene reasons especially in hot climates pre-refrigeration, and for the good of animals to minimise animals’ suffering.  The reason, as part of these practices pig was prohibited was because at that time it was impossible to deal with the two neck arteries simultaneously and so minimise suffering for a pig when killing it, as could be done with cattle and sheep which only have one neck artery.

I believe that if only everyone would separate the timeless laudable end aim from the then best means of achieving this hopefully shared aim, there is actually a reasonable, united and harmonious way forward.

The barrier is that everyone tends to irrationally put the cart before the horse, by taking as their starting point the often emotionally highly-charged issue of the means of slaughter, rather than starting with the aim – of minimising animals’ suffering, and then seeking to find common agreement with regard to what is nowadays the best means of achieving the ideal aim of no animal suffering at all.

Technology’, for the want of a better word, has moved on since the introduction of Halal and Kosher practices, and scientific discovery has enabled the development of even better methods of fulfilling the aim of minimising animal suffering.  Thus to continue with Halal and Kosher methods is to inadvertently breach the over-riding spirit of the Halal and Kosher laws’ shared original aim of minimising animals’ suffering.  To draw another Christian parallel, if church ministers for example, followed the letter rather than pragmatically applying the intended spirit (by taking another day off in lieu of Sundays) of God’s commandment to work six days each week and keep the Sabbath Holy, there wouldn’t be anyone to lead church worship!

The Halal/Kosher meat issue now presents Jews and Muslims with a tricky dilemma: if they follow the old prescribed means they are clearly breaching the aim of minimising suffering; and if they wish to fulfil the aim of minimising animal suffering then they cannot follow the old means which have since been improved upon.  They simply cannot have it both ways.

Thus far from being incompatible with the original aims, or showing hostility towards Muslims or Jews, moving on from Halal and Kosher methodologies by legislating to follow best modern animal slaughter practices including requiring all animals slaughtered for food to be fully stunned before killing, is precisely in keeping with the laudable over-riding original aim of Halal and Kosher practices – to minimise animal suffering.  This apparently wouldn’t be hugely different for Halal meat given according to a recent Guardian article, 88% of so-called Halal meat has in fact been pre-stunned prior to the actual killing of the animal, though there appears to be some concern as to how consistently some Halal methodologies used for stunning are fully adequate.

I hope that this pragmatic way of thinking might allow Muslims and Jews to graciously and respectfully let go of outdated dogma and be united with the rest of us in wanting the best for both animals and humans – and thereby be able to satisfy themselves that they are still following the higher aims of their religion.

If we want a harmonious society at ease with itself, there needs to be a pragmatic approach to this sort of issue and where it can be shown that modern practices actually improve the putting into action of the original aim, then surely the expectation of such a compromise is entirely reasonable.

I would just add that levying the arguably subjective accusation of Halal or Kosher practices being barbaric or using other such unnecessarily inflammatory language will simply needlessly anger, predictably, even the most placid and moderate Muslim or Jew and in provoking an understandably extreme defensive emotional reaction make them resistant to any rational discussion about, never mind implementation of change.

Conversely if we UKIPpers can express my suggested line calmly and using what most will consider measured language, I’m hopeful that people will start to agree our point of view is well-reasoned, respectful common sense and feel able to make practical progress without having a guilty conscience with regard to whether or not they are truly following their religion.  I therefore hope that recognising the sensitivities surrounding this issue, feedback and discussion about this article will indeed be in this spirit: after all with freedom of speech comes responsibility in exercising such a valued and privileged liberty.

Photo by Ben Woosley

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About David G. Meacock (7 Articles)
David G. Meacock – UKIP Culture and Arts Spokesman, professional musician and inventor of a leaflet delivery aid which won the Bucks Best New SME Business of the Year Award.

12 Comments on Halal/Kosher meat

  1. Cruelty to animals came up over and over again during the 2017 election campaign, and the combined total of objections to non-stun slaughter methods and hunting with dogs was larger than any other topic.

    Cutting the throat of a fully conscious animal is not acceptable for any reason: it is against everything we stand for in a society which claims to live by humane Western values. No animal should be killed by inhumane methods in the UK, and if we decide to allow import of such meat products then clear and unambiguous labelling must be enforced. The sale of meat killed by any non-stun methods without labelling should be made illegal, and anyone breaking the law should be severely punished as by so doing the perpetrators make the buyers complicit in the original cruelty.

    So what of those who, for religious reasons, refuse to eat meat unless it is killed by mediaeval and unacceptable methods? Would import of meat be allowed? Personally I would vote against that, but I would accept a decision contrary to my position if that’s the way it went. The alternative is to become vegetarian, no hardship with the varied and delicious world cuisine now available in the UK.

    For die-hard meat-eaters there is a possible solution. If you take a human up to 35,000 ft without oxygen then they lose consciousness within a minute due to hypoxia, low oxygen level. I’ve done it and there’s no pain, no fear, you just go out like a light. The same effect will occur in an atmosphere where the oxygen levels are lowered – nitrogen would be a good inert gas to use. Do that to an animal and you could cut its throat and it wouldn’t even notice – the claims that throat cutting is humane is based on the same physiology as hypoxia, namely the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off, but using low oxygen partial pressure before there is any pain is obviously acceptable whereas the alternative is not. The body would probably react, but the being inside would not be present so there is no moral dilemma: it would be like switching off a machine.

    Science has moved on since rabbis and imams tried to ensure healthy food production methods before we understood the mechanics of consciousness. I doubt that anyone could object to non-stun consciousness control on religious grounds. If they did they could become vegetarian. There is only so far that our values can be bent to cater for the intolerant.


  2. Laudable aim, attempting to get Jews & Muslims to deliver their views on religion into the 21st century.
    The very best of luck with that one.
    Similar I would think to say, platting sawdust!

  3. Who has authorised this article?

  4. Please be aware that the “stunned” Halal uses the inadequate “stun to stun” method. We must insist on the use of “stun to kill”. Unfortunately this latter method is unacceptable to Islam.
    Any sort of stunning is unacceptable to Judaism.

  5. Islam brings nothing but misery to this country. ALL Islamic countries are intolerant of other faiths, and yet, many think Islam is welcome here. It’s sheer lunacy.

  6. “If we want a harmonious society at ease with itself”

    That is simply impossible whilst we have a significant number of Muslims. They cause trouble in every non-Muslim country that they inhabit; they can’t even live peacefully together in their own countries.

  7. Dr Taj Harjey is an Oxford Scholar and an imam. Here is his take on halal meat being foisted on the wider public.


    • Thanks Brenda. I hope everyone will also read this very interesting and informative article, which I hadn’t read prior to putting together my own thoughts.

      • Thank you for taking the time to read it. It’s lovely to get some feedback.

        If you do have time it’s worth giving him a Google. He’s a very unusual person.

        Kind regards.

    • Thanks Brenda for the link. He’s one of the few good eggs who, like Imam Tawhidi, are trying to reform Islam. I admire them but feel it isn’t really our problem – if our British Laws were enforced there would be no argument – fit in or ship out.

      • Dee, it is great to see you commenting on UKIP daily again. I last conversed with you on another site that had been set up but I cannot remember the name of it, is it still going? I cannot find it in my email list. However, I have to say it was not as good as this one, did you find it the same or are you commenting on it as well as this one?

      • Hi Dee

        I tend to feel that the comments of someone like Dr Taj Harjey can help to give credence to our own argument on this matter.

        I do fully agree that enforcing British law and ‘one law for all’ would solve the problem but successive governments have never been interested in doing this.

        Best wishes.

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