The tradition of carving the Sunday roast is an irrefutable element of our culture. It is traditions such as this and other innocuous practices like visiting the pub, burning the guy and celebrating Halloween which bind us together as a society.
As a nation we are not averse to trying new flavours and food experiences. It was the British who, in the 18th and 19th centuries imported spices and aromatic herbs from the east in huge quantities. Our palates acquired a love of the exotic; foods, flavours and aromas from foreign climes are as popular today as in those past times – perhaps more so.
With an influx of immigrants over the past couple of centuries it was inevitable that we would see elements of their cultures become part of the mainstream of British life. One of those elements which has been imported with Islamic immigrants is that of halal meat.
Halal beef, chicken and lamb is now a regular feature in restaurants, school dining rooms and other eateries across the country. There has been a furore in the press and on TV as a result of halal being served without the prior knowledge of the persons (non Muslim) to whom it was served.
Why the bad press?
The reaction stems from the way in which animals (not fish) are slaughtered. Apparently the animal is killed by way of a swift cut to the carotid artery, windpipe, and jugular vein, using a well sharpened knife. The death of the animal is rapid with little if any suffering to the animal.
All well and good for the person delivering the swift cut but it doesn’t turn out too well for the animal I suspect. And this is where I cannot see any difference between halal and non halal other than with halal derived meat, a prayer is chanted as the animal is slaughtered.
In abattoirs and slaughterhouses across the world, animals are killed for their meat every day of the week. It matters little if a prayer is or is not said when the animal is killed, the end result is the same.
We end up eventually with meat on our plates; without eating meat which is high in protein, it is arguable the human race would have developed to as near this level of ascendancy as it has.
If you don’t like halal meat, don’t eat it. However, isn’t that a little hypocritical given the fact that all animals which end up on our plates as part of a meal were killed; that is a fact which cannot be denied.
The alternative is to become vegetarian but I suspect too many people love their meat fix to give it up.
Image credit: freedigitatalphotos.net / Serge Bertasius