Posts Tagged ‘ethical meat’

How Chanoch Kesselman lost the argument

Sunday, May 15th, 2011 | Religion & Politics

We often joke about Godwin’s law so it’s easy to forget that sometimes, people are actually silly enough to try and use it as a legitimate argument.

A few months ago, 4Thoughts, a series of short commentaries by Channel 4, did a week on religious slaughter, a topic which I wrote about a few days ago. The first of which was by a man named Chanoch Kesselman who literally said, the first thing the Nazi’s did was to ban ritual slaughter, and then they killed six million Jews. You can watch the video here.

In total there were seven videos on the subject, though they didn’t prevent a very balanced argument. Only one of the videos was by a non-religious person, the rest were from believers. Two of which were Christians, but you really can’t call what they said being supportive to either side. Only Helen Rossiter made the case that animal welfare considerations might want to play a part in a decision about animal welfare.

Ethical meat please

Friday, May 13th, 2011 | Religion & Politics

On April 10th, I wrote to all my local MEPs, asking them to support legislation in the European parliament which would require all meat to be clearly labelled as to whether it was slaughtered by humane of religious methods.

If you aren’t aware of the background, animals slaughtered in the UK must be done do by first pre-stunning the animal to make it unconscious before you kill it. However, Islamic and Jewish communities have an exemption from this law which allows them to slaughter the animal while still fully conscious by slitting their throat and then leaving them to slowly bleed to death as they thrash around in pain. It’s pretty horrific, which is why the governments advisory board, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, advised the exemption should be removed immediately.

What is worse however, is that many restaurants and shops, including high street supermarkets, often sell Halal meat as regular meat, without any labeling – you could be eating meat from an animal that was unethically slaughtered and not even know it.

While the ultimate solution is to remove this exception, which would be the fair thing to do in our modern secular society – we’re not asking for anything special, just that the law by applied to us all equally without the current discrimination that happens, at the very least it should be a requirement to label meat as having come from religious slaughter, so that those of us with an ethical conscience, can choose to avoid it.

Only three of the MEPs I wrote to responded, here is what they said:

Timothy Kirkhope MEP from the Conservatives told me that his colleague, which sits on the ENVI committee was doing everything possible to support this legislation, stressing that his concern was animal welfare and allowing consumers to make an informed choice.

Godfrey Bloom MEP from UKIP told me that he opposed the legislation because he didn’t support any legislation that came from Europe and therefore detracted from our sovereign power. From what I can work out, it seems UKIP candidates just sit in the European Parliament and cheer at the entire proceedings. Still, that is probably what the electorate want them to do.

Linda McAvan MEP from Labour told me that she supported legislation that required meat to be properly labelled and had voted for this before – but would not be voting on this one because they didn’t feel it was appropriate (nothing to do with it having been proposed by a Conservative of course).

She also said it was important that religious slaughter, while it should be properly labelled, should be allowed to continue. I replied to her on this, challenging the idea of religious privilege over applying the law fairly and consistently to all. She responded, saying that the views of the Muslim and Jewish communities took precedence but also said that while the exemption exists, 80-90% of religiously slaughtered animals were actually pre-stunned.