What About Halal? UK to Ban Boiling Lobsters Alive But Has No Plans to Restrict Religious Slaughter

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 03: Social distancing signs at a Halal butchers in Lewisham on May 3, 2020 in London, England. The Office For National Statistics (ONS) data analysis released this week on the Coronovirus pandemic found that poor areas of England and Wales are the worst affected. The most …
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The British government will look to ban the boiling of lobsters alive as a part of its proposed animal welfare bill. However, the government has refrained from imposing similar ethical restrictions on Halal meat.

The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill will look to add protections for vertebrate animals who are believed to experience pain and the government is reportedly seeking to extend this provision to some more intelligent invertebrates including octopuses, squids, and lobsters.

The legislation would prohibit the boiling of live lobsters after government officials consulted with industry leaders on alternative methods of killing the creatures, The Times reported.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We’re proud to have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we are fully committed to strengthening them further to ensure all animals avoid any unnecessary pain, distress or suffering.

“We have commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence and will carefully consider the results of this review.”

Yet, Conservative governments have long been reticent to extend such restrictions to religious slaughter, including the Islamic Halal preparation, despite accusations of cruelty from animal rights activists.

The controversy over the bill appearing blind on some kinds of animal cruelty but not others has been growing for months. Appearing on talkRADIO in May, Environment Secretary George Eustice said that the issue of Halal slaughter is “contentious” and shied away from recognising the apparent hypocrisy within the bill.

Pressed on whether the practice of Halal bloodletting was “cruel”, the Environment Secretary responded: “There’s no doubt that from the point of view of animal welfare if you look at it without religious rights, then of course, stunning animals before they are slaughtered is always going to be preferable.”

“I think some other countries do this better than us, and in fact, if you look at some Muslim countries in the Middle East, they actually don’t have a problem with the stunning of animals, it’s often something of a Western interpretation,” he added.

Responding to the mooted ban on boiling lobsters, political commentator Calvin Robinson said: “First they banned foie gras, now traditionally cooked lobster.

“Will they make a move on Halal butchery though? I highly doubt it… Easy targets only.”

In 2016, over 100,000 animal rights campaigners petitioned the government, calling for the ban of Halal and Kosher slaughter in the UK, claiming that the practice of slitting an animal’s kneck without stunning it beforehand is “cruel” and “barbaric”.

The organiser of the petition, Johanne Tavares, told Breitbart London at the time: “I have campaigned against halal and kosher slaughter since I was 20 when I became vegetarian.

“I am not against people eating meat, because as a realist I accept that the greater number of the population do, including my family; therefore I campaign for the highest possible standards at slaughter. Clearly Halal and Kosher are not that.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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