The Great Halal debate
For the past number of weeks, halal has been top of the menu for different media across the country yet why has it suddenly become such an issue despite being prevalent for hundreds of years?
Every other season, a new anti-Islamic debate seems to arise and, whether it be in relation to the hijab or grooming gangs, the finger is often pointed towards Muslims by members of society.
The latest epidemic seems to revolve around the method of slaughter, known as ‘halal’, which many far-right supporters have backed a ban on.
Currently, the Halal Food Authority (HFA) estimate that just 15 per cent of meat slaughtered in Britain is halal compliant to adhere to the needs of the 2.4million Muslims currently living in the UK.
For meat to be constituted as halal, an animal, which is alive, must be slaughtered in a particular way, with a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe. A prayer, known as ‘tasmiya’ or ‘shahada’, will then be said to complete the process.
Despite causing a media storm over recent weeks, it seems that campaigners against the meat are still in the minority.
In Wakefield, West Yorkshire, we went into three butchers, with only one employee at an unnamed premise, saying that people had specifically asked not to be served halal meat.
“If people wanted halal, they would just go to one of the many halal butchers we have in the city so I don’t really think it is that big of an issue,” he said.
“We have had some people talk about it but no, what you would call, White British customers have specifically said they don’t want halal produce.”
It seems the word on the street is also very similar to that which Mr Brook had said, with all four members of the public saying they didn’t feel anything was wrong with the current halal situation in the UK.
Earlier this week, MPs rejected an attempt to force shops, supermarkets and anywhere serving food to clearly label products containing halal or kosher meat.
Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, had proposed the amendment to consumer rights yet his plans were rejected by a substantial 281 votes to 17.
Being a Muslim I obviously think it’s important to have it stated on a menu whether something is halal or not. For the rest of community or religions, it doesn’t matter if it is halal or not in that respect.
If somebody doesn’t want to eat halal because of their own personal reasons, such as the way it is killed, then they shouldn’t have to, it’s visa-versa really. It’s the same rules for everyone; we should all have the choice of halal or non-halal.
The thing is now, we live in such a big market where food is concerned that it has to be specified where halal is concerned.
There shouldn’t really be an argument because Russell Brand said ‘you’re killing the animal either way and when something dies it is suffering so it is just a formality’.
I think everybody should have a choice. Some people will want to eat it and others won’t but that is up to them.
It is not an inhumane way to kill an animal I would say because the nerve is cut straight away so there is no feeling after that.
I don’t really know why the debate has begun to rise again, it may be just people listening to what a minority are saying.
I don’t like to really think about how meat is killed or slaughtered anyway. I don’t know how the meat I eat is killed so it doesn’t really make a difference to me.
If I don’t see it then I don’t really think about it in that sense so I would happily eat either.
I guess people who aren’t Muslims could have the choice of halal or not if they wanted but it doesn’t bother me.
I don’t care how my meat is prepared. As long as it is dead and not breathing or poisonous, I don’t care its just food.
I don’t see where the debate comes from in regard to halal. To me if it is meat, it is meat. Halal meat and normal meat doesn’t taste any different so I don’t see any point in arguing about it, it’s just ridiculous.
The animal is being killed anyway, so if somebody is saying a prayer over it, why would it bother me. It’s not going to affect the taste, texture or quality, it’s just meat.