This article was written for Within magazine – The Birthday edition 🙂
Halal Hysteria has swept across the UK and suddenly we’re having a huge moral panic over how our meat is slaughtered. This has been fuelled by ‘certain’ sections of the media; having realised the threat of imminent terrorism is wearing a little thin, they’re now telling us there’s some kind of sinister plot – inflicting halal meat on innocent, animal loving Brits. Unsurprisingly, both the BNP and EDL have jumped on the anti-halal bandwagon, using the debate as a proxy for the real concern, the presence of a growing Muslim population.
Do you really think the papers are concerned with animal rights? If so, why is the debate not about all forms of slaughter? – The fact it’s only the halal method that’s being discussed is no coincidence.
Why the sudden interest now – if everyone is so worried about how the meat they eat was killed, why have they never asked before?
That’s because it wasn’t really a problem, was it? Well, not until The Sun said it was anyway…
So what does halal actually mean? Put simply it’s like this – The animal must be healthy and uninjured. A relevant prayer is recited whilst the animal is slaughtered – using a single cut to the throat with a sharp knife. All blood is then drained from the body.
There’s no nice way to kill an animal in order to eat it, but personally I find this method slightly more palatable than the other ‘non-halal’ methods – the thought of an animal shot with a bolt through the head, or a chicken hung upside down, dipped in electrified water then having its head mechanically removed makes me lose my appetite.
We should have all our meat labeled, with a detailed explanation of how the animal was killed, and then let the consumer decide – in fact, maybe a live feed from the abattoir, relayed on a huge screen directly above the meat fridges is the way forward…