Updated 8 May 2014
Many of Australia’s abattoir are now engaged in halal killing. This entails a cruel and drawn out death for our animals.
The practice harks back to ancient times when animals were slaughtered as offerings to the gods; when suffering for animals and humans was most favourable to the gods. In these enlightened times in the Western World, why do we allow this to go on in a modern country like Australia?
In light of the Four Corners’ recent documentary about cruel practices in Indonesian abattoir carried out on Australian cattle, the following article written in November 2010 is very interesting.
The Mail Online headline reads:
Halal meat is being served in schools, hospitals and pubs-even though vets say Islamic slaughter is cruel.
– by Danny Penman.
Even as Mr Penman stands outside the abattoir, close to a city centre, in the early hours of the morning, he can hear the pitiful bleating of lambs being slaughtered. He enters the abattoir and takes photos with a hidden camera. It appears to me from what Mr Penman has reported, that halal practices vary; certainly between those in Britain and those in Indonesia which we witnessed in the documentary. Halal killing supposedly follows ancient practices as dictated by the Koran, but even those are apparently open to interpretation.
This particular butcher Mr Penman refers to, slaughters around 1000 animals each night. Most animals are sheep and goats, but there is some cattle as well.
Hundreds of sheep and lambs are held in small pens; a few try to escape by leaping over the rails. The noises are of machinery, bleating animals and men uttering prayers. The animals are herded on to a conveyor belt that takes them to the slaughtermen. Grabbing one at a time the meat worker pulls back the sheep’s head and slits its throat. While blood is gushing everywhere, the man recites an Islamic prayer. One of the supervisors explains to Mr Penman that “Animals that are stunned are not halal; an animal that is unconscious is not going to listen to prayer. In the Holy Book, it says that the animal should listen to the prayers of Allah. If it is unconscious, then it wont be able to do that.” I can’t see how prayer is going to mean anything to a terrified animal!
To quote Mr Penman: “Lamb after lamb has its throat sliced open while fully conscious. They make pitiful bleating and gurgling sounds as they choke on their own blood. It’s a chilling sound, that once heard, stays with you for days”. Even though the knife cuts deep into the animal’s neck, severing windpipe and main artery, but not their spinal cord, each animal is still able to cry out. It takes up to 30 seconds for each sheep or lamb to die, or longer, depending on the accuracy of the cut. The distraught animals in turn watch each other being slaughtered and crying out. Then they are hanged upside down sometimes while still alive, so that their blood drips freely to the floor and into gutters.
Killing an animal in a British abattoir without stunning it first is illegal. However there is a legal loophole which does allow this for religious purposes. There are many halal butchers in Melbourne and I wonder how many of these have been investigated for needless cruelty. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical of the Australian government to ignore what is going on in its own backyard yet has banned live animal exports to Indonesia for the same reasons. I am not suggesting that halal butchers in Australia are treating animals as badly as those that were filmed on the Four Corners programme, but halal butchery is cruel to animals nevertheless and should be banned in Australia.
Halal meat producers in Australia and Britain refuse to allow inspections of their abattoir. This in itself is worrying. Another important factor is that there is essentially one law for muslims and another for non-muslims. History shows that this type of cultural separation is a dangerous path for any government to go down. The official line for our governments is “We are not opposed to halal as long as the animals are stunned before they are slaughtered”. But who is watching?
In Britain, large supermarket chains carry halal slaughtered meat, but the meat is not labelled as such, so consumers are unaware of the fact that muslim butchers are running abattoir that supply meat to their supermarket they shop at, and the numbers of halal butchers are growing. I don’t believe that there has been any investigation into this matter in Australia, but I am sure Australians would also like to know whether or not our farm animals are being butchered humanely for local supermarkets.
According to Mr Penman, some halal butchers in Britain do stun animals before they are killed, but this is causing great tensions amid muslim communities. It boils down once again to interpretation of the Koran. Those muslims who stun animals before slaughtering them counter that the Koran stipulates that the Prophet forbids an animal to be aware of death during slaughter. If there was one law for all, there would be less strife, I am sure.
I was stunned myself to read that a spokesman for Tesco in Britain says that the only halal meat they sell in their supermarkets is frozen New Zealand lamb! However, this is not accurate as further investigation by the reporter confirmed that most British supermarkets sell non-stunned halal meat, that is ‘authentically halal’. In France and Belgium almost all meat is authentically halal killed. Is the western world being overtaken by halal butchery?
Mr Penman says in his article that he saw no mindless cruelty to the animals as witnessed in Indonesian abattoir.
What I find most disturbing in all of this, is that Australian and NZ farm animals are well cared for, are used to friendly human contact, and so are very trusting. Then they are exposed to the very worst of humanity, especially in the case of the treatment they receive at authentically halal abattoir.
Although Jewish Kosher killing of animals is far less than Halal killing, it uses a similar inhumane method. Time for Muslims and Jews to upgrade cruel methods of killing animals in their abattoir.