Quebec parties challenge halal meat laws

Quebec parties challenge halal meat laws

15 Mar, 2012

By Ron Csillag| Religion News Service, Published: March 16

TORONTO — Two political parties in Quebec are speaking out against the ritual slaughter of meat, saying the practice runs counter to the province’s secular “values.”

The opposition Parti Quebecois on Wednesday (March 14) declared concerns about halal meat, which is slaughtered according to Islamic law. A PQ legislator said halal slaughter is an affront to animal rights and “slams directly against Quebecois values.”

The pro-independence party said it is worried that mainstream companies are selling halal meat without proper labeling to unsuspecting consumers. It wants to know how many companies produce halal meat and how many animals are being slaughtered annually under Islamic rituals.

The PQ is demanding a report on the halal situation from the governing Quebec Liberal Party by March 23.

PQ legislator Andre Simard told reporters that both halal and kosher slaughter raise concerns over “sanitary risks” because they involve bleeding the animal after its death, which he said could lead to E. coli contamination.

“If I had the choice at the counter, I would not buy it,” Simard said.

A newer and smaller political party, the Coalition for Quebec’s Future, agreed, saying halal products must be clearly labeled. The current controversy arose after local media reports said a Quebec slaughterhouse was selling halal chicken to the public without proper labeling.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said it is confident the PQ does not seek to ban ritual slaughter in the province and that kosher slaughter does not offend Quebec values.

A similar controversy has erupted in France, where far-right National Front party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.

Letters: Responding to the outrage over halal meat

Every day when you open the paper you can read of another stupidity by our Quebec government or the opposition. The latest nonsense is over the issue of halal/kosher slaughter. All of a sudden in a province that allows horrific puppy mills to exist and where a man decided to dispose of some puppies with a nail gun and only got a slap on the wrist for it, they are concerned that adherents to the Muslim/Jewish religions are not slaughtering their food supply humanely. When will the nonsense end?

Claire Nudel
More and more people are becoming vegetarians because of growing awareness that animals have feelings, too. In 2003, the Farm Animal Welfare Council declared that halal and kosher slaughter cause “severe suffering,” and should be banned. Slaughterhouses can save money by not stunning animals before killing them, so we need to be vigilant. We should not permit slaughterhouses to halt a practice that began in the name of mercy.
If religious communities can stomach the thought of eating meat that suffered before death, that is possibly their right. But as someone trying to feed a family with a clear conscience, I want slaughter done as humanely as possible. If the animal was not stunned before slaughter, consumers have the right to know through clear labelling.
This issue has nothing to do with immigrants and everything to do with compassion.

Penny Fulleringer

I am an Eastern Orthodox priest. Let me assure Christians and anyone else, halal/kosher foods are not offensive to Christian ideals. Christ was a practising Orthodox Jew and rabbi. Halal or kosher is a guarantee that ingredients are what is stipulated on the label. When consuming a kosher hotdog, you know what you are eating. As far as I know, there are no halal/kosher foods forbidden to Christians. So go to a Jewish deli and enjoy yourself. Enough xenophobia and racism please! Peace! Paix! Shalom! Salaam!

A.R.E. Silva




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