London, 15 Rabi’ul Akhir 1436/5 February 2015 (MINA) – Amid increasing calls to ban the religious halal slaughter, UK Muslims have called for adding new CCTV camera in abattoirs to pressure slaughterhouses and avoid bad treatment of animals.
“Animal welfare should be observed by all slaughterhouses,” a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told The Independent, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“We also believe, to increase trust for the consumers, that the use of CCTV cameras in abattoirs should be seriously considered.”
The controversy erupted after the appearance of an undercover video that shows animals being kicked in the head and face by butchers.
Following investigation, the Bowood Lamb abattoir in North Yorkshire fired one slaughterman and suspended three others.
Meanwhile, the company issued a statement in which it described the animal welfare as “highest priority”.
“We set very high standards for the way in which animals that pass through our premises are treated and we enforce those standards rigorously,” the statement read.
Despite the apology, several MPs, vets, and animal welfare campaigners have called for banning the religious slaughter in UK.
“This highlights the very real concern over halal and kosher slaughter,” said Sir Roger Gale MP, a former vice chair of the Conservative Party.
“My impression is that all political parties have fought and fight shy of addressing the issue because of the concern not to upset certain faith groups,”
A similar opinion was shared by members of the commons select committee on environment, food and rural affairs (Defra).
“This issue is not going to go away until we get to the point where all animals are stunned before they are killed,” said committee member Mark Spencer MP.
The concept of halal, — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Muslim scholars agree that Shari`ah provides a divine law of mercy that should be applied on all Allah’s creations, including animals.
Islam also provides details about avoiding any unnecessary pain.
Recommendations by the MCB to install CCTV cameras in abattoirs were echoed by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee.
“Safeguarding animal welfare is important, that is why we commissioned the Farm Animal Welfare Committee to look at this issue,” a Defra spokesperson said in a statement.
“We will look at options in the light of their report which shows that CCTV can play a role in facilitating inconspicuous monitoring but it also has limitations and relies on regular monitoring.”
Meanwhile, Neil Parish MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on animal welfare, commented: “There is a danger that an outright ban on religious slaughter would not improve the welfare of animals at the point of slaughter.”
“Driving our halal meat industry abroad to countries without our robust animal welfare standards and our supply chain traceability might result in more animals being slaughtered without stunning,” Parish added.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.
Though the current laws in UK allow slaughtering animals without prior stunning, a new EU directive on the protection of animals at the time of killing will come into force in the UK in 2013.
The Islamic worldview and guidelines give sufficient basis for a humane treatment of animals.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the embodiment of mercy, he treated the environment and animals with respect and mercy.
He taught his followers that because animals were part of Allah’s creation they should be treated with dignity and due care. (T/P011/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)