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article imageOp-Ed: The ritual slaughter nonsense again

By Alexander Baron     Jul 18, 2013 in World
The ritual slaughter non-controversy is back in the news again; this time it's animal "rights" activists in Poland who are stirring it up.
Ritual slaughter is a fundamental tenet of two of the world's great religions: Judaism and Islam. Because of this there is always the insinuation of anti-Semitism for the former and Islamophobia for the latter. It is true that in the past, much of the opposition to shechita has indeed come from anti-Semites - including the lunatic fringe - but this is hardly the case today. On the other hand, Moslems have come under increasing attack over the halal food non-controversy, primarily because they are now thick on the ground in most countries of Western Europe and increasingly in the United States. Nevertheless, the same specious arguments are used against both Kosher food and halal by the animal "rights" lobby, most of whom are impervious to such inconvenient things as facts.
The current centre of concern for killing animals humanely is Poland. Last November, religious slaughter was ruled illegal by the country's Supreme Court, and more recently there have been demonstrations in the capital. Two years ago, the same nonsense erupted in The Netherlands. But does it really matter how animals are killed for human consumption? And isn't the idea of a humane death really an oxymoron?
One person who thought not was Arnold Leese (1878-1956), who was unquestionably the most rabid anti-Semite England has ever produced. After qualifying as a vet, Leese left these islands for warmer climes, serving as camel specialist to the government of Imperial India and travelling widely, including during the Great War as a commissioned officer. It was not until he returned to the UK that he discovered the Jewish Question; with this came a revulsion to Jewish ritual slaughter which was so pronounced that he even published a pamphlet against it: The Legalised Cruelty Of Shechita.
Curiously though, he appears to have had no objection to the Islamic method of killing and preparing food, and must have been aware of how his beloved one-humped camel was prepared for the table. Here is a (graphic) video; many more can be found on YouTube. Notice how the beast resists being dragged and pushed into the slaughterhouse? Camels are temperamental animals, but clearly it senses that something terrible is about to happen. How does the Jewish method compare? Here is another explicit video. Not very pleasant, is it? Finally, here is a method of slaughter fit for an atheist. The first animals to die in From Farm To Fridge are pigs, which are never eaten and therefore never slaughtered either by Orthodox Jews or devout Moslems. Again, it is not very pleasant, but if you want to eat meat, this is the price animals have to pay. Before you turn vegan though, check out this video of two hyenas killing and devouring their lunch. After ripping the embryo out of the pregnant wildebeest, the animal is clearly in shock and can do nothing but stand helplessly until it is taken down and then eaten by both its killers and the scavenging birds. This is Mother Nature at work - red in tooth and claw. This video might make you wonder what sort of monster God must be to allow this to happen to countless animals on a daily basis, but it won't put Richard Dawkins off his food, and neither should it you.
Yes, the Farm To Fridge video is disturbing, there must be if not more humane then less horrible ways to prepare our lunch, but let us not agonise over either Kosher or halal slaughter; the difference is microscopic if anything, and here is another view of the halal preparation process.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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