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Muslims, Jews protest against ban on Halal, Kosher meat

The Government is being pressurised to stop being politically correct and ban Halal and Kosher meat, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:21 IST

Pressure is building up on the Government to stop being politically correct and ban Halal and Kosher meat that entails slitting animals' throats and letting them bleed to death. The move has enraged both the Muslim and Jew communities.

But in a report published on Tuesday, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, said that the way in which Halal and Kosher meats are produced was intrinsically cruel and caused severe suffering for sheep, goats and cattle.

Dr Judy McArthur Clark called for all animals to be stunned and the government to repeal the exemption for Halal and Kosher meat production. "The rendering of unconsciousness is very immediate thing. Those animals are clearly suffering far, far less because the period of time over which they suffer is extremely short."

The call for ban would affect over nine million farm animals every year. The Council said: "We make no moral judgement." It said: "We are persuaded that such a massive injury (slitting the throat while the animal is fully conscious) would result in very significant pain and distress in the period before insensibility supervenes."

Dr Clark maintained that the issue was of general consumer concern since up to four-fifth of the meat slaughtered by the shehita method ends up in the general food chain.

The Muslim and Jewish leaders remain unconvinced. They claim that their methods result in a sudden loss of blood from the head, causing animals to feel nothing. The British Council of Muslims has also opposed the demand.

The Government could go slow on the issue said a source, considering the current anger in the Muslims over Iraq and actions taken against a few clerics. But, ultimately the government advisers wanting a ban on Halal and Kosher meats are expected to prevail.

First Published: Dec 24, 2003 21:35 IST