By Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, Head of Certification, Halal Authority Board
Halal authority Board have asked why the British Veterinary Association (BVA) continually attack the slaughter methods of the Muslim Jewish communities with little or no basis. Indeed, there are far more important issue’s on animal welfare and cruelty that are been ignored for a cheap headlines and political gain. If they were really concerned about animal welfare they should address the following 10 areas that highlight blatant cruelty perpetrated on animals in the UK.
1. The pain caused when tagging an animal – every large farm animal has to be tagged in the UK for the purpose of identification.
2. Chickens bred for eggs fair worse. Soon after hatching, chicks are sexed. Whilst the females have their beaks forcibly removed before being moved on to laying, the males are thrown into macerating machines that grind them up – while alive – for use in animal feed, Approximately 50% of all chicks hatched for this purpose are therefore brutally killed.
3. All pigs are mainly housed indoors throughout their lives but female pigs are repeatedly made pregnant via artificial insemination. Kept in farrowing crates the pregnant pig is unable to move forwards or backwards let alone turn around. After giving birth the piglets are taken away at three to four weeks at which time the sow is once more impregnated.
4. Animal Welfare Regulations allow surgical castration without the use of any pain relieving drugs for calves up to the age of two months.
5. Animal Welfare Regulations also allow emasculator or Burdizzo castration without the use any of pain relieving drugs for calves up to the age of two months. This method of castration uses a clamp which crushes the blood vessels around the testes, cutting off blood supply and causing them to die and drop off.
6. There are also numerous unreported welfare issues in the pig industry when transporting live piglets from farm to abattoir.
7. More than 30 million egg-laying birds are kept in battery cages in the UK at any one time. They are fed and and live under artificial light until their egg laying days are over when they are slaughtered. Egg to slaughter without ever seeing sun light. Wire cage sizes are just 450 sq cm – less space than an A4 sheet of paper per bird. From 18 weeks of age she will remain for a year and will produce around 300 eggs.
8. Animals on a farm are routinely castrated or dehorned without any pain relieving drugs.
9. The production of foie gras (the liver of a duck or a goose that has been specially fattened) involves the controversial force-feeding of birds with more food than they would eat.
10. The UK Home Office publishes statistics on laboratory animal use each year. In 2012, 4.11 million scientific procedures were carried out on animals in the UK. These procedures involved around 4.03 million animals.
We hear much less (if anything) about the welfare issues mentioned above from the BVA and hear no mention of boycotting products or farms that show such cruelty. It appears that BVA need to show a greater balance in their comments and avoid unfairly criticising Muslim and Jewish methods of slaughter as probably, they see them as soft targets. Any such criticisms they make against religious slaughter methods shows them to be ill-informed and insensitive to the halal and kosher consumers as well as ignorant of the huge halal market in the UK, Europe and the throughout the world.