Thursday, October 26, 2006

Netherlands' Largest Supermarket Chain Accepts Line of Halal Meat: This Move Rejects Law to Slaughter With Anesthesia

As this article states, “The main point of contention is that most of the animals are slaughtered without any kind of sedation or pain killers.”

"In our country it's forbidden to kill animals without anesthesia," party leader Marianne Thieme told The Associated Press. "In 1972, an exception was made to accommodate a small number of religious groups. But what we see now is that this is not an exception anymore, it's becoming a common way of slaughtering."

So essentially what we see is circumvention around slaughter rules in order to get cruelty-obtained flesh into the hands of people.

Article:

Animal rights activists protest after Dutch supermarket introduces halal meat
The Associated Press

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/25/europe/EU_GEN_
Netherlands_Halal_Meat_Fight.php

Published: October 25, 2006

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands The Netherlands' largest supermarket chain has come under fire from animal rights activists after it introduced a line of halal meat, which is prepared according to Islamic religious rules.

The country's Party For The Animals, which pollsters expect to win a seat in parliament in elections next month, said Wednesday its members have sent more than 5,000 complaints to grocer Albert Heijn after it introduced meat with a halal label last week.

The main point of contention is that most of the animals are slaughtered without any kind of sedation or pain killers.

"In our country it's forbidden to kill animals without anesthesia," party leader Marianne Thieme told The Associated Press. "In 1972, an exception was made to accommodate a small number of religious groups. But what we see now is that this is not an exception anymore, it's becoming a common way of slaughtering."

She said the move by Albert Heijn would force slaughterhouses to adopt halal slaughtering methods "just to be sure their meat can be brought to market."

A spokesman for Albert Heijn said his company's move was intended to attract business from some of the country's 1 million Muslims, who make up around 6 percent of the population.

Jan Christiaan Hellendoorn said Albert Heijn selected 45 out of its 700 stores to carry the halal line, mostly in areas of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague where many Muslims live.

He said the slaughter of sheep and cows is "handled in the best way it can be handled," and added that chickens were anesthetized before slaughter.

"It's always a serious matter if people complain," Hellendoorn said, but he said sales were in line with expectations and the company will follow through for at least six months.

"There is a market for it," he said.

Kasim Ademir, chairman of the Turkish Islamic Cultural Association, said he welcomed Albert Heijn's move, but couldn't comment on whether the meat was really halal.

Halal rules "are complicated" he said, and a subject of debate within different Muslim communities. He said in any case Islamic law demands that all animals be treated well.

"Animals may be anesthetized briefly before their slaughter and still be halal," he added.

Thieme predicted that Albert Heijn will eventually bow to popular pressure and cancel the halal line. Her party is expected to receive more than 50,000 votes in national elections Nov. 22, enough to win a seat in the 150-member Dutch parliament for the first time.

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