Recently there has been concern expressed about exports of Halal killed meat to Saudi Arabia. This activity has two unexpected ‘positives’. The first is that it is far more legal than the majority of Halal meat in this country because it will almost certainly be consumed by a practicing Muslim. Most Halal meat killed here breaks the law because it is eaten (usually unknowingly) by the general population.
The second positive is that the customer In Saudi Arabia will eating meat that was killed in front of a CCTV camera and in the presence of a vet. The alternative product might well have had the ‘blunt penknife’ treatment after 24 hours on the road in a mobile oven.
The above typifies the unintended consequences of a virtuous intention. I outlined others in my original article on the topic.
I had hoped to have had the Religious Slaughter issue as a main debate topic at a UKIP Conference. I am fairly certain that I would have lost that debate, but I wanted to confront members with practical realities and the concept that a “less bad” British product is preferable to an imported horror story.
Our new Leader Gerard Batten is keen to see UKIP ban non-stun slaughter and there is no doubt such a step will demonstrate that we really are prepared to confront the ‘Islamification of Britain’ issue head on.
The challenge is to find a way of preventing the importation of ‘blunt penknife’ carcasses without a WTO objection.
I have two suggestions.
Although it has not yet been formally approved, our new UKIP agriculture policy contains the concept of a ‘Modern Food Act’. This is similar to the Modern Slavery Act. It places an obligation on businesses to ensure transparency in the food supply chains. They have a duty of care to consumers that all food sold meets our own production standards. British Citizens cannot waive their rights under British Law. For example a motorcyclist cannot waive his right to protection by a crash helmet. Under our Modern Food Act a Muslim will not be able to waive his right to consume meat that is of a high animal welfare standard.
Please note the difference between protecting someone’s rights and passing a law to ban Halal imports in defiance of the WTO.
The second (and additional) proposal will involve the agreement of our Trade Spokesman. When we leave the EU we will regain our own seat on the WTO. This will give us the opportunity to take initiatives and lead debate. It was Britain that first proposed, and followed through, the ban on slave trading. We achieved the acceptance of the concept of human welfare which built enough momentum to see slavery itself banned a few years later.
I believe now that the time may be ripe for a WTO ban on the trade in non pre-stunned meat carcasses, bringing the concept of animal welfare into world trade. Failing that, we could push for ‘animal welfare’ to be granted the same status as ‘human health’ in justifying a ban on a particular import.
I believe that these suggestions would find support in UKIP.
There is however one huge Achilles’ heel in this proposal. If it succeeds it will mean that a practicing Jew cannot live in Britain. Whereas there are different elements of the Muslim Community who for different reasons will accept pre-stunned meat, the Jews take a harder line. They will rightly point out that their way of killing an animal is stress free and pain free. Some of them may see UKIPs policy as a form of constructive dismissal and regard it as highly anti-Semitic. They will quite obviously not vote for us. It saddens me personally to alienate a group of people who are less likely to be in prison or unemployed than the average Brit, and more likely to be paying tax than the average Brit.
I would make three points to them to justify our policy decision.
The first is to remind them that they have enjoyed an exemption from British law by being granted the privilege of non-stun slaughter. This privilege came with the strict proviso that all meat killed in this way was intended for consumption by Jewish individuals. Unfortunately un-porged, Shecita hindquarters reputedly find their way into the general food chain. Therefore the privilege is apparently being abused.
We could remind them that 2000 years ago their Shecita method genuinely was the most effective method available for animal welfare, but man’s technology has brought improvements which they should embrace and not oppose.
We could remind them that UKIP is doing this as part of a determined effort to stop the Islamification of Britain, as well as the animal welfare issue. The concept of Sharia law being British law in 50 years time is something that is of potentially far greater importance to the Jews than a ban on non-stunned meat.