Like many Westerners (vegetarians, farmers and assorted others aside), I'm more than a little hypocritical when it comes to the food I eat. I'm probably too squeamish to kill an animal but I'll normally eat what's provided without really thinking much about how it got there.
But that handy "two for one" offer on chicken breasts at your supermarkets does come at a price. In truth, most members of western society are not best placed to question the morality of other cultures when it comes to the treatment of animals.
And yet, I see one particular criticism time and again. Here's one from a "harl" commenting on a post by Roy Hattersley on CiF.
Even, as I write this, thousands of sheep in Saudi Arabia are having their throats slit. SLOWLY, very slowly, as the religion dictates. I doubt very much the slaughters will feel a smidgen of empathy for the doomed animals. For this is Islam, and the suffering of others is to be enjoyed.Perhaps "harl" is a vegan or something but I think it's more likely that s/he's a rabid Islamophobe. And, as I said, this sort of thing is pretty common.
Now, the whole idea of slitting an animal's throat and draining its blood, as required under Muslim tradition, is not something I want to think about. But is it morally worse than breeding chickens to be so fat that their legs can't support them? I doubt it. Cutting an animal's throat causes it to become unconscious quickly due to lack of blood to the brain; the animal suffers for only a short time. Broiler chickens, on the other hand, are miserable for the whole of their short lives.
We all know what they say about people in glass houses.
But the strangest thing about this relatively recent outburst of faux outrage over the process of Dhabiĥa is that so many of the Islamophobes are apparently unaware that the Jewish tradition requires almost exactly the same slaughtering process.
Please excuse me while I resort to a textbook manoeuvre:
Even, as I write this, thousands of sheep in Israel are having their throats slit. SLOWLY, very slowly, as the religion dictates. I doubt very much the slaughters will feel a smidgen of empathy for the doomed animals. For this is Judaism, and the suffering of others is to be enjoyed.Yuck. A comment like that is clearly anti-Semitic and I doubt it'd last long on the boards of CiF before being removed. Harl's comment however, has been there since yesterday morning.
For all that free speech is hugely important, political discourse has always been conducted within certain boundaries of acceptability as defined by society. The above is a troubling illustration of the way that the standards of acceptability have changed with regard to the open display of Islamophobic views. The pros and cons of this could be debated in a reasonably healthy way if this change in standards applied across the board but it does not. It is criticisms of Muslims specifically which have become acceptable; there has not been a wider relaxation in attitudes towards aggressive criticisms of other cultures or communities. In fact, it can be argued (and many do) that the opposite has occurred. It's political correctness gone mad, I tell's you...
Not for Muslims though.
One further point. It should be noted that it is perfectly possible to object to this method of slaughtering animals without being Islamophobic or Anti-Semitic (or even hypocritical). But a consistently applied set of beliefs regarding the ethical treatment of animals is clearly not what is driving the current spate of criticism directed towards those who eat halal meats.
Tags: News, Politics, Islamophobia