Sunday, 31 October 2010

Live export trade.

IXL tried all week to source Halal turkeys for Christmas on behalf of a corporate client.
The mind boggles, right? Why anyone would think it’s appropriate to give Muslims Christmas hampers I don’t know unless we subscribe to the philosophy: ‘in Rome do as the Romans do’.

However, business is business, so she eventually found a farm where turkeys were butchered in the Halal tradition. It seems a mullah is hired to stand in the shed facing Mecca where he chants as the turkeys are beheaded and that’s it. Apparently they are quite ecumenical, it being usually OK for animals to be slaughtered by Jewish and Christian butchers (not Atheists) so long as Halal methods are used. The rules are worth reading and make a lot of sense, starting with ‘thou shalt not eat road kill’ and the like.

One Halal directive states that the animal should be killed with as little pain as possible, but as far as I can gather, they must be moving all the while they are bleeding out to be sure all blood is removed. The two do not seem compatible, but let’s accept there are good reasons and look at the meat export business.

1. Australia has a substantial live cattle and sheep trade with the Middle East. Live animals are shipped by sea so they can be butchered at the destination in the Halal tradition, part of which is to eat the meat as soon as possible after slaughter. So the animals suffer for weeks squashed into holds of ships where a high proportion die in transit, negating the minimum pain ideal, then are carted home in car boots and on roof racks to be killled in the bathroom!
2. But that aside, it seems to me there is more fuss made over how an animal is butchered in that part of the world than there is concern for suffering inflicted on fellow human beings.

Now for something from the Irish tribal tradition.

Sunni V Shia.
The Prophet is quoted to suit
Each tribe, from Iran to Beirut.
They fight kill and die
And clearly, here’s why:
They each want control of the loot!

PS. Comments and points of view from Muslim readers are not only welcome but respected here. We could have substituted Catholic V Protestant or Serb V Croat and any number of other contemporary feuding tribal pairs. To learn more about live exports click here.


  1. Some things one doesn't even want to know. I sounds pretty awful. I am not a religious person, so I just try to do what is best, or kindest. I would hate for someone to tell me I had to do something for a religious reason, when I hated it.

  2. I spent 18 months in Kuwait back in the 70's, when my hubby was working there and they trim up at Christmas like Christians. The stores were all decorated and gifts are given. Christ is recognised as a prophet by Islam.

  3. getting back to how animals are treated before we kill and eat them: we have two little Banty hens and we eat their eggs happily as we know how our chickies are fed, housed and loved. It's getting so I really don't want to eat meat unless I meet the farmer and the animal and know that is humanely raised,loved and (dare I write this)humanely butchered. Is there such a thing?
    Yikes. and that doesn't even touch the issue of how we treat each other.

  4. Getting in early here to support your comments.
    I have been heard to say that meat eaters should be required to see an animal killed before being allowed to buy meat. Silly of course, but having chopped the heads off chickens and butchered sheep, pigs and cattle on my farm, I can say my animals never saw it coming, unlike those poor things that await their turn at abattoirs, hearing the panic and smelling the blood.
    Halal as applied to food was originally collective wisdom set out as guidelines to keep people healthy, since replaced most places by modern health regulations (that include refrigeration) but like other religious rituals, it has become an end in itself, skewing the wisdom to become merely a point of difference.

  5. wow,
    what sharp observations you have here.
    animals do have feelings, don't they?
    plants, flowers are sensitive to human noises..

    too bad animals got to be killed often,
    life is hard when thinking of these.
    amazing insights in your words.


    Happy Halloween to you.
    Hope to see you at our poetry potluck Halloween party tonight. Post a poem on Halloween, or share an old poem unrelated to the theme, link in as soon as we are open, that’s how you get the best result of feedback.
    Feel free to take any awards from this post, enjoy!

  7. Ban the live export trade :(

  8. Staff Ray: This says it all, started for health readons "but like other religious rituals, it has become an end in itself, skewing the wisdom to become merely a point of difference." Thanks for airing this issue.

  9. Dear Stafford,
    Perhaps if there are more discussions like this, religion and practice can come together and make perfect sense. One cannot follow blindly when all circumstances, for example import export between countries oceans apart instead of selling from village to village.

    I believe applied with common sense, all religious rules have a place.

  10. ninotaziz, thank you for responding. Your point about rules meant for village to village trade really makes sense of the Halal rules. But in these times of dependable refrigeration, scientific health checking and world wide trade, to subject animals to such cruelty becasue of a set of rules that are out of context and long past their use-by-date, is merely practicing a ritual for its own sake.

    Unfortunately that is unlikely to be stopped beause such practices become measures of religious piety and as such do not need to make sense. I guess to give such rules weight they were origingally declared to be 'commandments from God' and that tends to set them in stone so all that can be done is for us to stop supply.

  11. Have you ever read anything by Dr. Temple Grandin? If not, you would enjoy!!!

  12. Thanks everyone, and thanks to you, Helen, I looked up Temple Grandin in Wiki and was 'wowed' by her personal journey and by her contribution to animal welfare... Move over St Francis!


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