Indian Muslims and Hindus clash over meat labeling | Salaam Gate


Radical Hindus have opposed the use of halal products, including meat, even though it is an integral part of the Muslim faith.

Mumbai: Objections that halal and jhatka meat is inhumane because it involves significant suffering for the animal have angered radical Hindus against religious beliefs.

A petition filed in the Bombay High Court this year calls for the country’s meat products to be mandatorily labeled as ‘humane’ and ‘non-humane’, arguing that ritual slaughter methods for halal and jhatka meat in the fall into the latter category. The instigators claim the labels will allow consumers to make conscientious and informed choices about the type of meat they choose to consume.

The petition, filed by 23-year-old attorney Virat Agarwal and scheduled to be heard by a divisional bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice MS Karnik on March 21, 2022, says it educates consumers about the manner in which an animal is slaughtered should become an informed choice.

Mumbai-based Agarwal said the Delhi High Court had previously convened a committee to investigate the cruel methods used by Delhi’s slaughterhouses, with his report implying that both halal and jhatka are inhumane methods of slaughtering animals. The two concepts are animal slaughter methods for consumption in different communities. While Muslims follow the Halal method, Sikhs prefer Jhatka. Hindus typically consume both halal and jhatka meat.

In Hindi, jhatka means fast. With this method, the animal’s head is quickly chopped off with a single blow, and the animal dies instantly. With halal, the animal is slowly killed, completely draining its blood. Halal food refers to food prepared according to Islamic law. For halal meat, the animal is slaughtered through an incision in the carotid artery, carotid artery and trachea.

Most Indian restaurants offer both halal and jhatka options for chicken and lamb dishes.

Halal meat is an integral part of the Muslim faith, and proponents claim the practices of traditional Islamic slaughter are humane. However, Hindu communities in India in particular argue that religious slaughter causes unnecessary suffering and should be banned, with radical Hindu groups campaigning against halal food in the country.

Last November, K Surendran, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the southern state of Kerala, said that halal restaurants in the state are targeting radical Islamists who are increasingly imposing “a halal culture”.

However, other commentators have said that it is wrong to prejudice Halal restaurants as people from different religious backgrounds frequent such establishments and people of other faiths work in them. India is currently ruled by the Hindu nationalist BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Read – Halal and non-halal experts are working to treat animals humanely – but awareness of killing remains an issue

The halal food controversy turned into a full-fledged social media campaign with misinformation claiming that Muslims spit on food to make it halal. Some videos have surfaced of Muslim cooks spitting into jars of cooked food to make it halal.

These unverified claims sparked a social media storm and major controversy in Kerala and elsewhere in India. Muslim clerics have denied the allegations. They said the halal process does not require spitting on the food and Muslims have never admitted in any court that halal requires spitting on the food.

“The animals should be killed using modern and humane methods as both halal and jhatka are unnecessarily cruel and painful to the animals but are permitted under Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as they are intended for religious purposes. Consumers have the right to refuse the meat obtained by killing animals with crude methods, and meat shops, restaurants, flights and railways should clearly mention the slaughter method by including foods containing meat,” Agrawal said.

He argued consumers who are not religiously obligated to consume halal or jhatka meat should have the choice to consume humanely slaughtered meat. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution gave everyone the choice to choose their diet, but he claimed that no information was currently available making it impossible to make informed decisions.

“I have contacted the Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) and other authorities to ask them to provide such information with the labeling of meat products, but I have received no response,” Agrawal said.

Read – European slaughtering regulations tighten the Halal sector

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