The return of halal hysteria

Mail bid to end suffering of chickens

This is the headline to the latest article from the Mail on the supposed barbarism of halal slaughter.

In yet another attempt to whip up fury against the Muslim community, readers are told:

New laws aimed at reducing the suffering of millions of chickens in abattoirs have been put on hold by the Government after Muslims complained they would undermine their rights to slaughter the birds according to Islamic rituals.

To the dismay of animal welfare groups, the laws were unexpectedly delayed just days before they were due to be implemented last month.
Senior vets and campaigners said that the delay was ‘outrageous’ and some have now threatened to report ministers to the European Commission for failing to implement the EU-wide rules.

They would have forced many abattoirs to use a more powerful electric shock than they do now to stun chickens before they are killed.
The move follows research that suggests that many birds are still conscious and suffer pain when they are slaughtered, but that higher levels of shock would guarantee they were insensible.

However, Muslim leaders said that the new levels could kill birds before they could be slaughtered, meaning they would no longer be halal. According to Islamic rituals, the birds have to be alive when their throats are slit so their hearts are still pumping and their blood is properly drained….

A spokesman for the Compassion in World Farming pressure group said the decision meant thousands of chickens could daily be enduring ‘horrific’ deaths.

I’m not generally a fan of Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, but he skewered the hypocrisy of this faux concern for the welfare of poultry very effectively a few years back on his Telegraph blog:

After all, we’re talking mainly about industrially-reared chickens. The lives of these fowl have been unimaginably wretched from the moment they were hatched. Does the manner in which they spend their final few seconds add or detract much from the sum of their misery? I doubt it. If you were motivated by a kind of avian utilitarianism – the greatest happiness for the greatest number of birds – you would surely begin by campaigning against the intensive farming of poultry. Even if your narrow concern were to spare birds from unpleasant deaths, it would be bizarre to become more exercised about Jewish and Muslim butchery techniques than, say, the peppering of pheasants with shot – a process which often leaves them flapping about pathetically on the ground.