Muslims being cheated on halal meat

Muslims being cheated on halal meat

06 Mar, 2011


Scotland’s Halal meat industry has been plunged into crisis with the news that the country’s sole abattoir producing meat for Muslims electrocutes its animals before slaughter.

The Sandyford Abattoir in Paisley, which performs contract killing for AP Jess and Emmark, who supply most of Scotland’s Muslim butchers, has come under fire for its practices, which also include a conveyor belt system where animals see others slaughtered in front of them. The iWitness visited the site itself to confirm that lambs and chickens were stunned before slaughter was performed.

Muslims have been urged to put pressure on their local butchers and takeaways to ensure that they buy their meat from abattoirs which do not stun their animals.

In Islam, the process of slaughter must be swift, with a sharp cut to the jugular vein providing an instantaneous death. Further, it is Islamic etiquette that animals do not see others being slaughtered as commonly seen on conveyor belt systems.

Muslim groups and mosque imams have hit out at the practice of electrical stunning before slaughter, on the bases that is cruel to the animal, that some die in the electrocution without the name of Allah being pronounced on it, and it causes blood to remain in the meat with is unlawful for Muslims to consume.

Dr Abdul Majid Katme of the Muslim Council of Britain, considered one of the country’s leading authorities on the subject of Islamic slaughter, said that stunned meat was haram, also citing the 1999 ruling by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a group of around fifty scholars.

“We face a lot of ignorance on this matter. We need to educate people, starting with the imams. There are not just Islamic arguments against stunning, there are numerous scientific ones too.

“All those cheating Muslims who are not selling real halal meat without stunning should be exposed and boycotted,” he added.

Imam Mustaqeem Shah of the Al-Furqan Mosque concurred: “We shouldn’t be purchasing this meat. There is a strong opinion that it is not allowed to slaughter this way.”

Muhammad Salloo of the Halal Monitoring Committee blamed a lack of education for the problem. The Leicester-based HMC give halal seals of approval, and are set to open this up to shops north of the border in the next few months.

“If all the Muslims demand it [unstunned meat], shopkeepers will be forced to buy proper stuff. Up till now the imams just haven’t put enough pressure on it,” he said.

Imam Habib-ur-Rahman Rauf of Glasgow Central Mosque it was the also the responsibility of voluntary groups and others to make the change happen. He told the iWitness that the issue was discussed a few years ago by Glasgow imams. “The conclusion they came to was that it was ja’iz but better avoided.

“Some brothers did look into setting up slaughter here to offer meat perfectly halal without stunning, but found that it increased costs. Even if this is the case though, we should be willing to pay the price.”

The high tariff is no longer the case though, according to Glasgow shopkeepers who offer stun-free meat, including a couple of butchers on Albert Drive and one on Woodlands Road. They said their suppliers ensured prices were actually lower than stunned produce.

A spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Britain said: “Muslims have paid a lot of attention over the years to E-numbers and so on, but have inexplicably let this much more major matter go on under their noses for too long.”

An official at the Sandyford Abattoir said it was impractical to consider alternative methods of slaughter.

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