Tuesday, 8 October 2013

"Money-hungry HK will gain taste for halal". My response to the letter

Letter to South China Morning Post:
A number of recent articles have promoted halal meats for Hong Kong.  That is, meat slaughtered according to Islamic sharia practice. They all stress the money aspect (e.g. "Money-hungry HK will gain taste for halal", Letters, Oct 5). None has mentioned the well-documents cruelty to animals in producing halal meats. For example:
Hong Kong may be a money-obsessed place, but should we feel comfortable making that money on the back of cruelty to animals?

The concern applies to kosher meats as well.  But they are a small minority (1.8% in the UK) of all religiously-slaughtered meat.  The production of halal meat is therefore of more concern given its size -- now over 15% of UK meat, a figure that should be of concern not celebration.

Halal and kosher meats are exempt from the normal standards in many countries.  

But why should they be?  

We have before made secular legal standards override religions ones: we no longer allow human sacrifice or the burning of witches.  More recently, Mormons have had to hew to secular laws disallowing polygamy and Christian Scientists have not been allowed to have their belief that "sickness is an illusion" halt medical treatments for their children.  Why cannot our secular society decide that our humane rules on handling meat trump religiously-mandated cruel ones?

In the meantime, I congratulate Hong Kong restaurants for resisting the push for religiously-mandated cruelty to animals.

Peter F.