‘Callous’ and ‘inhumane’ is how a Holloway butcher describes his personal views towards the recent Halal/Kosher meat controversy, despite his religious upbringing.
Ahmed, 31, who has been in the meat industry for nearly 10 years, admits that he does not necessarily agree with the way in which animals are killed, despite growing up in a Muslim household.
“I believe in the welfare of all animals and the way they are slaughtered.
“There’s a big difference between slaughtering them rightfully than in an inhumane way.”
According to European regulations, it is a required that animals be stunned before they are slaughtered, but grants exemption for religious purposes.
The local butcher, who did not wish to reveal his true identity for fear of retaliation by his community, said he has always been sceptical of the practice, which is a complete contradiction to the values in which he was taught at a young age.
“It made me feel uneasy as a child, that’s why I have chosen not to practice at this time,” said Ahmed, “but I am still in the family business because it is what I know.”
“I don’t think it’s fair to strain the blood from each animal before the death. It is my opinion that to kill an animal in such a way doesn’t match our ethics as human beings.”
He does however believe that the laws in the UK should too be revisited if not reformed.
“It’s a long shot from actual banishment here in this country but I believe the government should take a closer look at the laws.
“Maybe there is a solution to ensure all parties get what they want.”
Controversy on this issue reared after John Blackwell, recently elected head of the British Veterinary Association, called for a ban on all ritual religious slaughterings.
He insisted the exemption for Jews and Muslims as it relates to their methods of religious killing be ended if both religious refuse to adopt “more humane” methods of slaughtering.
Instead, he suggested that both religions allow livestock to be stunned unconscious before they are killed.
Yet defending the Jewish and Islamic religious practice, theologian Mark Perry said he is agreement with leaders who deemed the law “anti-Semitism” and claims is a direct intrusion of religious freedom.
“These are ancient beliefs which have been passed down from generation to generation.”
He explained that Zabiha, the ritual of poultry, sheep and cattle which consists of a swift, deep slice of the throat with a sharp knife letting the animal bleed to death, is a humane method of slaughter where an animal’s welfare is the focal point of one’s belief.
“This is not just something they can put to vote and conclude they will no longer perform anymore or alternatively, do differently.
“Furthermore who gives anyone that right to say that their beliefs (Muslims and Jews) should be altered to accustom the likes of anyone who is in disagreement?
“Religion”, he added, “is suppose to be something which is sacred and faith based to those individuals whom partake.”
Going forward, Mr Perry believes that in these times, more individuals and groups should first become knowledgeable and gain a better understanding when it comes to religious practices before criticising their methods.
The UK is home to a sizeable Muslim community of nearly 3 million while according to the UK Census statistics, there was an estimated 260,000 Jewish community in 2011, with most living in London.