Last week, DEFRA finally launched its consultation paper covering the re-drafting of current legislation that provides protection for Halal and Kosher religious needs. The consultation on Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing will see the final implementation of EEC Council Regulation (EC) 1099/2009 into UK law.
The consultation document is six months late and is now being pushed through to be effective in statute in a few months’ time. The Muslim and Jewish communities have been left with just six weeks (by 24 October) to defend religious slaughter in an unknown and undefined process for any real consultation or dialogue.
So should the Muslim and Jewish communities be concerned?
The Muslim and Jewish communities has already called the consultation exercise a monologue, holding deep reservations and fears that its aim are to further curtail religious freedoms of expression, but this is disguised with bias, unproven science and often un-founded animal welfare concerns.
The legislation obliges business operators to ensure animals are spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering and requires measures to be taken to ensure key animal welfare concerns. Islam and Judaism both have this as a core concern and in principle would therefore would welcome this legislation if that was the real motive.
The Muslim and Jewish communities are now reading the 132 page document. HMC is working collaboratively with its 80 slaughterhouses and plants, MCB, Jewish Certification Boards and other Halal industry partners to protect the threats to Halal and Kosher
HMC has begun detailed analysis of the proposed regulations and consultation with its plants and stakeholders:
- HMC has written to all the slaughterhouses producing certified products to alert them of the consultation and seek consensus feedback
- HMC has met with Jewish representatives to discuss the regulations and agreed to work in partnership for this common cause
- HMC are continuing to work with the Muslim Council of Britain and other key Halal partners in preparing a response to the consultation
- HMC will advise the community and its supporters in the coming weeks how it may respond to the consultation if they so wish
In anticipation we urge all faith communities to wake up to the real threat that this legislation is likely to have.