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News Code: 1013

 

Halal Meat Ban Angers UK Muslims

A proposal by Britain's leading vet to ban halal and kosher slaughter in UK has sparked angry condemnations from the Muslim and Jewish communities, arguing that any such ban would endanger their religious freedoms.

“Zabiha is a humane method of slaughter where an animal’s welfare is at the core of one’s belief," Dr Shuja Shafi, deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said in a statement.

"Islam preserves the sanctity of both human and animal life."

“We do not accept [John] Blackwell’s comments as there are clear, precise methods of carrying out religious slaughter which takes due diligence so as not to cause suffering to an animal," he added.

Controversy erupted after John Blackwell, the newly elected head of the British Veterinary Association, called for a ban on all forms of “ritual animal slaughter.”

He demanded that the exemptions for Jews and Muslims over their methods of religious killing, which is enshrined in UK law, be ended and “ritual slaughter” methods banned if both religions refuse to adopt what he termed “more humane methods.”

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg provided political support for the defense of ritually slaughtered meat on Saturday night, warning that "no government of which I'm [he's] part" would follow Denmark's and Poland's footsteps in banning the practices.

"These are ancient beliefs handed down over generations," Clegg noted.

"As a liberal, I believe in trying to protect that kind of diversity, not trying to quash it.”

Reacting to the calls, Jewish and Muslims leaders independently and jointly rejected them.

Muslim scholars agree that Shari`ah provides a divine law of mercy that should be applied on all Allah’s creations, including animals.

Islam also provides details about avoiding any unnecessary pain.

Pointless

Religious leaders pointed out that the way the majority of animals are slaughtered in the UK, by use of a “captive bolt” before they have their throats slit, often causes far more suffering and pain that ritual slaughter.

“That’s not right, we can’t support that,” Abdul Hamid Qureshi, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, told Lancashire Telegraph.

“To make that call is inhumane in a sense, against our human rights.

“It’s arbitrary saying that stunning has no pain, whereas slaughter has pain. All the neuroscientists will tell you it’s milliseconds different, where consciousness is concerned,” Qureshi said.

“From a faith perspective we strongly oppose a ban, every Muslim will oppose it, not just most Muslims, every Muslim,” he added.

Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.

Though the current laws in UK allow slaughtering animals without prior stunning, a new EU directive on the protection of animals at the time of killing will come into force in the UK in 2013.

Source: ABNA