This humane approach applies to the treatment of domestic pets, animals used in sporting activities, farm animals, and to the slaughter of animals for food. The aim of minimising suffering is not completely universal, but even those who favour blood sports generally don't wish to prolong the suffering of the animals that they hunt.
In a more-or-less secular culture we close our eyes to some of the things that are going on around us. The laws are there to protect the animals, so the animals must be 'enjoying' their protection.
They must, mustn't they?
What? You mean that the law of the country doesn't apply to everyone equally? Well . . . it turns out that it does not. In fact, for a tiny percentage of the population who have irrational beliefs in a special friend in the sky, but no evidence for those beliefs whatsoever, the law doesn't apply at all, and they can profit from it.
We all know, in the back of our minds at least, that Jewish 'kosher' meat and Islamic 'halal' meat are exempt from the legislation about cruelty to animals. Imagine being one of those animals brought for slaughter, bound and powerless, having your throat cut and seeing your own blood pouring out as every fibre of your being is terrified in in excruciating pain.
|Humane killing, the Islamic way.|
Even within Judaism and Islam I am sure that many people don't understand the implications fully. They know that their food has to be ritually clean. They might know what that implies for the animals involved, and their upbringing has probably conditioned them to believe that it is right and just.
However, I say we should not be so selective in our view of the world around us. We can't blame the people who follow these bronze age and iron age faiths for their upbringing, but I think we can require that they comply with the law. Surely, if it is a bad thing to make animals suffer then it is one of the universal truths that should apply to everyone living in our country. Belief in Yahweh or Allah should not exempt anyone from the standards of humanity that we expect.
And they say that atheists have no morals!
It gets worse than this though. You might not realise it, but some of the meat that you eat could have been slaughtered in this same way. The fact that the laws about slaughter have been neglected might also suggest that other laws do not apply. For example, is the science of food hygiene understood by the barbarians who kill their meat in this way? Or is the science of the Qu'ran or Torah applied to the way the meat is prepared too? May the seventh heaven forbid!
You are probably saying to yourself that this doesn't apply to you. You buy your food from reputable retailers and they must be ensuring that the required standards are being applied throughout the food chain. Surely they must. But this report from the British Humanist Association (by coincidence published this week) seems to suggest that it is not the case. It says:
"Halal meat accounts for a quarter of the entire UK meat market, despite Muslims making up 3-4% of the population, and is routinely served in some schools, restaurants and hotels as well as sold unlabelled in supermarkets, so it is certain that many non-Muslims regularly eat Halal meat unknowingly."
Perhaps the standards are being applied. But what would happen if you find yourself in hospital? If you listen to the news and notice what is said in the background, you might hear stories that hospitals are aware of the halal problem. Islamic patients have to be assured that their food is ritually clean. (This would surely be difficult whatever the circumstances, as it is probably being prepared and served by infidels. Islam allows compromises in a life and death situation though - as long as it is the Muslim's life or death.) But at the very least, the meat must have been slaughtered INHUMANELY! The patients complain if they find that this is not the case. It is more expensive to have the appropriate systems in place to ensure that the halal meat is segregated from the humane meat, so it makes sense in these times of austerity to make the whole menu halal. That simplifies things a lot. It cuts costs (even if that halal meat costs more and comes from dubious sources). It keeps the patients happier. It makes profits too (for the immoral Islamic slaughter trade).
The other patients do not complain of course. They probably don't even think about where their meat has come from. As far as they are concerned it is food that has been produced in the same way as the food in the supermarket. Little do they know about the torment that the animals suffered, and even if they did know they would probably cast it to the back of their minds because they are more concerned about their own health. But that report that I mentioned above also says:
"The former Farm Animal Welfare Council and the EU-funded Dialrel Project similarly concluded that non-stun slaughter is extremely painful and distressing for animals."
“At the very least, we believe that animals that have been slaughtered without being stunned should be clearly labelled, as this will ensure that those who have no religious requirements and who object to consuming meat from an animal that has died in extreme pain can avoid it, which will undoubtedly significantly reduce the UK’s consumption of non-stunned meat.”But by stealth, without us realising it, another small aspect of Islam is creeping into our lives."
I say we should make halal and kosher meat completely illegal. One law for all!
What do you say? Search your heart.