THE UNKINDEST CUT?

Kevin Watkinson argues that the halal debate is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how and why we kill animals for food… 

A few weeks ago the Danish government banned religious slaughter, justifying such an action by stating “animal rights comes before religion”, which is probably the only thing animal rights has ever come before.  The Danish government attempted to gain some political popularity through banning a practice that is inherently cruel, so it is unlikely many would disagree with the ban except those that choose to believe god sanctions that form of slaughter.

There is however, something of a paradox as the alternative “humane” method, to which all animals now have a right, is also inherently cruel.  For the idea of a “humane” slaughter can be viewed as a fiction designed to assuage the knowledge that animals can suffer pain, but are stunned before death in a manner which prevents “unnecessary” suffering. But all this wrangling over the final moments of life aside, the issue of slaughter is but one aspect of animal exploitation. Society tends to neglect the manner in which “food” animals are brought up to slaughter, perhaps choosing to believe the red tractor is a sign of all that is good in the world or that out of sight is out of mind.  So placed in context with the entirety of a life, a focus on one aspect of slaughter appears to be a poor attempt at any notion of “animal rights”, and whilst this distraction has been played out, it could be argued that legislation has instead had the affect of further marginalising minority human groups in Denmark.

Back over in England, and the EDL have been conducting an intermittent campaign against halal kfc and also a halal slaughterhouse in Skegness, whilst managing to remain remarkably quiet about the nature of shehchita and their own consumptive habits.   The BNP have also on occasion felt the need to moan about the priorities of activists against the fur trade, believing the pressing concern of religious slaughter remains largely neglected; whilst perversely, leader Nick Griffin appeared on his own TV channel cooking up English “superior” slaughtered cow flesh without a flicker of consideration regarding how the cow ended up in the pot.  So it is more than a little crass to start arguing against the suffering of animals from a position of causing suffering to animals, demonstrating that the far right have little or no interest in the lives of animals, except in their value to further their own divisive agenda.
(For more information regarding methods of slaughter, the film Earthlings narrated by Joaquin Phoenix covers some of this ground, and can be found free to view on the internet).

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Charlotte Dingle is an imaginative, motivated individual with an award-winning track record, looking for challenging freelance writing, editing, illustration & design projects.Charlotte is current editor-in-chief of Biscuit (www.thisisbiscuit.com). Biscuit is an online magazine for bisexual women,