Commercial halal slaughter –science and religion by hamid ahmad
Commercial Halal Slaughter –Science and Religion. By Hamid Ahmad, Ex-Head, Meat Research Laboratory, Pakistan Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (PCSIR), Govt. of Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan. Member, Halal Food Standards Technical Committee, Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of Pakistan
Rituality and Science Interface in Halal Slaughter• The procedure followed for “Halal Slaughter” of an animal is purely a part of the religious way of life for a Muslim, as prescribed in the Holy Book (Qur’aan) and explained in the sayings of the Prophet (Hadith).• However, the aftermath of the sequence of physiological, neurological and biochemical changes that accrue in the animal body at slaughter & due to its death, follow the rules of natural sciences.• So, here lies the interface of obedient following of faith in a ritual performance, irrespective of the consequences and the rules of natural science.• The science part is measurable while the other is sacred act of belief to be measured in the hereafter.
Three Essentials of Halal slaughter No Compromise1. Animal should be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter.2. Uttering the Invocation: The name of Allah / God should be invoked at the time of cutting the neck of the animal.3. Maximum possible blood should be allowed to flow / let from the carcass.
Islamic Animal Welfare Code of Animals and at Halal Slaughter• Gentle handling, neck cut with sharp knife, killing not in sight, no beating & no unnecessary suffering to animals at all times.• In practice the religious code of AW is ignored.• Some reasons: lack of will on the part of authorities., training, ignorance, illiteracy, poverty, carelessness & overriding human miseries.• Ignoring of these injunctions, sometimes, makes meat (Makrooh-not for Muslim consumption).
Two Strong Religious Beliefs of Muslims about Halal Slaughter• No.1. Muslim scholars, intellectuals and even common man believe that only Halal method of slaughter leads to maximum bleed out to give safe & healthy meat.• No.2. Halal slaughter causes no or less pain to the animal as compared to any other method of slaughter. Note These beliefs have been and are held –irrespective of science.
Halal Slaughter and Stunning – Making Animals Unconscious Before Slaughter- To Lessen or Eliminate Pain & Animal Sufferings• Halal Slaughter of Animals is a religious act. Science is secondary in it. Science can enter only if & where it does not interfere with religious essentials.• Stunning is performed to induce unconsciousness and insensibility in animals so that shackling, hoisting and slaughter can be carried out without causing the animal any avoidable pain, suffering or distress.• But stunning injures the animal – so animal is not healthy anymore. In some cases may Kill -so in that case the animal not alive at Halal neck-cut.• Some scholars even say it amounts to causing pain to the animal twice or killing the animal twice.
Continued - Halal Slaughter and Stunning---• So, it is accepted and applied in some Muslim countries.• Mechanical Stunning is said to cause shock waves and subsequently destroys part of the brain resulting in a loss of consciousness. It is often considered permanent. So, it does not seem to have any place in Halal system.• However, electrical stunning is said to cause epileptic seizure & fits due to a substantial depolarisation of the neurons leading further to unconsciousness. Repolarisation occurs in controlled elect. stunning and animal may regain if not slaughtered within seconds.
Global Halal Market• With the global Halal food market currently valued at almost US$760 billion (source: HalalFocus.com), the demand for raw materials and ingredients that can be fully certified as Halal is higher than ever before and rapidly growing.• “Muslim consumers increasingly expect assurance that food and beverages fully comply with Islamic preparation requirements from the very start of the manufacturing process, creating increased pressure to source ingredients from suppliers that are certified by recognized Halal organizations.”• Chr. Hansen offer Halal certified meat cultures,• Meat International, e-Edition, Sat. 07,Jan. 2010