Thursday, 8 May 2014

'Halal' - whether you like it or not ...?

It seems that many of us have - unknowingly - been eating 'halal meat' for some time [here] Putting the issue - far from clear in itself -  of animal welfare and humane slaughtering (and rearing?) practices on one side, whereas no one should have any objection to those of other faiths being permitted to follow their ritual dietary requirements - a necessary condition of the liberty we so treasure (no irony intended, honestly), it does seem to be taking the principle too far for businesses to impose those requirements upon the rest of us, particularly without our knowledge or consent - again more proof, if it were needed,  that market economics is only as moral, or conducive to freedom, as the culture in which it is situated and by which it is influenced.

We should be very wary, of course, of using the issue of animal welfare to attack specifically 'religious' methods of slaughter; some of the meat on sale in our supermarkets (chicken particularly, but there are other examples) has been produced in conditions which are frankly scandalous and revolting to everyone. No, this is a matter of freedom and the free availability of the information necessary to make informed choices. 

Having said that, accusations of bigotry and intolerance directed at those who highlight these issues should not be used as a smokescreen to obscure an observable,  growing Islamisation of our culture, already it seems [here] becoming evident in some state schools and the legal system, opposition to which should unite Christian and secularist alike because of its negative implications both for the equal rights of women in our society and for social cohesion itself.

On the specific issue of slaughter, as many commentators have pointed out, Christians have no dietary laws per se (apart from the fasting required on certain days of the calendar and the laudable exclusion of meat on Fridays) although on a strict, if selective and uncatholic, reading of the New Testament * (yes, I know, no more black pudding etc...) eating food 'sacrificed to idols' may at least be for us a questionable practice. 

However, as regards the consumption of 'halal' meat, it would be good to be given the choice - or at least the information on which to make that choice - before vegetarianism becomes an irresistible option ... 

[* Acts 15.29; 1 Corinthians 10:28; 8:10-13; Romans 14:21]

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