The Halal Authority Board (HAB) has written an open letter to the British Veterinary Association (BVA), accusing it of “continuous attacks against the Muslim and Jewish communities”.
In response to the BVA president Robin Hargreaves’ appeals to UK party leaders to end non-stun slaughter, HAB head of certification Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq wrote in the letter: “Your comments appear to have no bearing on animal welfare issues, rather appear racially or politically motivated.”
Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq added: “There is less than 2.1% of the entire meat production being un-stunned compared to 4.8% Muslim population. Additionally, Muslims statistically over-consume on sheep and poultry and under-consume on beef, with zero pig consumption, so any comparisons should take these into account, but they do not.”
The HAB expressed annoyance that there were areas of blatant cruelty that needed to be addressed, which affected the whole life of animals in the UK, but the BVA was focusing just on slaughter – “the last few seconds”.
The HAB went on to list 10 areas of meat production which it believed the BVA should address as more serious matters for animal welfare. These included: tagging, chickens bred for eggs, pig farrowing, castration, transportation, battery cages, dehorning, laboratory procedures and force feeding.
The letter concluded: “We hear much less (if anything) about the welfare issues mentioned and hear no mention of boycotting products or farms that show such cruelty. It appears that there needs to be more of a balance in their comments and avoid unfair criticism on the Muslim and Jewish methods of slaughter as, probably, they are seen as soft targets. Any such criticisms they make against religious slaughter methods shows them to be ill-informed and insensitive to the halal and kosher consumers as well as ignorant of the huge halal market in the UK, Europe and throughout the world.”
For the full text of the HAB letter see Halal Focus, 14 August 2014