Feature

United Kingdom: The racism of shunning halal meat

Don’t tell me you care about animals—people who want to ban halal and kosher slaughtering practices are simply racist.

Janice Turner
The Times

Don’t tell me you care about animals, said Janice Turner. Those in Britain who want to ban halal and kosher slaughtering practices are simply racist. When some school districts switched their cafeterias to halal meat so that Muslim students could buy meals, the complaints poured in, and they were telling. One parent wrote that a child should not “be subjected to food that has been exposed to religious preparation”—as if Islam could be “caught through ingestion, like tapeworms.” Does the visceral reaction come from our use of the loaded term “ritual slaughter” to describe the halal process? “Ritual suggests a spell, a ceremony, a wild-eyed relish for death, while slaughter is our worst word for killing.” The Western method of killing animals for food is presented as humane and scientific, “as opposed to non-Christians’ muttering, murderous, near-satanic blood rites.” But this is, of course, nonsense. “How can we lecture Jews and Muslims on animal cruelty when we practice it on an industrial scale?” We smash hens together in egg-laying cages, mutilated so that they can’t peck one another. We raise pigs in boxes so small they can’t turn around. The truth is, all meat is murder. Halal “at least acknowledges its sacrifice with a prayer.”

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