Sunday, July 3, 2011
Halal/Kosher Meat Ban: Dutch Parliament Votes to Ban Religious Slaughter of Animals: What's the Reason?
A recent bill has been passed by the Dutch Parliament that bans the religious slaughtering of animals, including the process of kosher and halal meat.
The Dutch parliament’s initial approval of this bill has caused a united movement by Muslims and Jews, who take up a minority of the population, to condemn what they believe is an attack on their religious freedoms.
Those who support the ban are insistent that the ban's sole purpose is to minimize "unnecessary pain and suffering by animals."
However, the process of slaughtering animals to make them kosher or halal is far less painful than the way factory farms do it.
The problem with every article you read regarding this issue is that the author doesn't articulate the difference between halal/kosher slaughter and factory slaughter. To make meat kosher or halal – according to Jewish and Muslim customs – an animal must be killed by swiftly cutting its neck arteries and veins using a razor-sharp knife. If the bill is enacted, it would ban this procedure and enforce the idea that animals must be stunned before slaughtered.
It is impossible for humans to state a truthful statement about which process hurts the animal more, unless we compare it to our own bodies. The rate of how long it takes you to die is equivalent to how much pain you are in before death.
I understand it's a gruesome comparison, but it's the only way to support the fact. The quicker your death, the less pain you feel. Imagine getting shot and remaining conscious until someone finally killed you. How much pain would you feel? This is similar to the process of stunning, which the Dutch parliament seems to find less painful than a quick slice to the veins in the neck (causing immediate death).
Stunning of animals is cruel and causes unjustifiable suffering to the animals which is strongly prohibited in both Islam and Judaism.
The problem I have with this bill that bans halal/kosher meat is that there is no reason for it. It doesn't minimize the pain the animal has to suffer, because the non-religious way of doing it is actually more painful clearly - so that isn't a reason.
All it does is unwelcome Muslims and Jews in Europe. Practicing Muslims and Jews won't be able to eat meat once the bill is enacted. In order to eat meat, they would have to leave Netherlands.
Obviously, this is a discriminating law.
It is a disturbing attack on religious freedom.
The legislation was proposed by a small party of animal rights activists and anti-Muslim politicians who carry views of Islam and Judaism that are prejudice and unrealistic. The bill won support from several other parties, and was passed - however, it still must be passed by the upper house of Parliament.
Netherlands is a country where traditional religion, especially Islam, has been accused of being opposed with liberal Dutch values.
I find it extremely hard to believe that this bill is to minimize suffering by animals. The bill is to minimize the number of Muslims and Jews in that country. The bill is another attack on religious freedom in Europe.
From the banning of the burqa, to the banning of the headscarf, to the firing of an Abercombie and Fitch employee in France for wearing a headscarf, to the banning of Islamic slaughter - these are all evidently attempts to kick out Islam and other minority religions out of Europe. The religious slaughter of livestock has so far been banned in Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
What disturbs me is a comment made by the lawmaker, Marianne Thieme, leader of the Party of the Animals. She said, "In our country, animal welfare is such a big issue that we think freedom of religion ends where human or animal suffering begins. If freedom of religion causes harm to anybody, human, or animal, then freedom of religion must be restricted.”
There are many flaws in that statement, first being that ANY and ALL freedoms cause harm! Freedom of speech causes harm, freedom of religion can cause harm, freedom of information can cause harm. What Thieme says is that once someone is at harm because of your religion, you cannot practice that religion anymore. This absurdity is what has caused Islamophobia, the fear of Islam. Just because one person has a corrupted view of their own religion, doesn't mean the majority carry the same view. Laws that restrict freedom are unlawful. Restriction of freedom is what caused the Holocaust.
The point is - animals are being harmed either way, whether they are stunned or simply slaughtered.
Bruce Mayall, head of the Mission Viejo chapter of the anti-Muslim organization ACT! for America sent out an email to his friends claiming he had a video depicting how "brutal and horrifying" halal slaughtering is as opposed to factory farming, which Mayall claimed was "humane and instantaneous". "I want these videos to get into the hands of animal rights people who, I hope, will make every effort to expose and get halal slaughter banned," Mayall wrote.
Mayall obviously has never seen the movie Food, Inc, which depicts the truth of factory farms. I remember one scene in the movie which showed how pigs are slaughtered - a steel plate weighing probably more than a ton slammed down into a tiny hole of thousands of pigs, some on top of eachother, repeatedly being smashed until the last oink. Oh yeah, definitely humane and instantaneous.
It all comes down to this fact:
This bill isn't about animal welfare at all, it's just another attempt to restrict freedom of religion.
And I will do my best to end this religious intolerance. I'll keep you posted.
-That's the TFAT.