Let us understand that halāl is an illegal imposition and a parallel certification process, with a specific doctrine based bias infrastructure, discriminatory logistic arrangements only accommodating specific community people and promoting a parallel economy away from the national economic system of all sovereign democratic countries to satisfy the dogma of a specific religious dietary condition that denies a fair business arena to all competitor participants in any respective businesses irrespective of the religious community in the food and all other industries.
The evil practice is effectively denying the fair playing field to competitors from other religious communities in the food business and moving our society towards a monopolistic deadlock situation where a so-called minority community enjoys complete domination and cartel over the entire trading and distribution industry worth trillions of dollars only based on some fanatic religious identity and preference. It’s an illegal imposition and a parallel food certification procedure without any checks and balances by any scientifically authorised Government bodies like FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) or ISI (Bureau of Indian Standards) and doubtful legal accountability and inviolability to the law of the land.
Even in Bharat, legislation against livestock slaughter is in place throughout most Bharatiya states apart from West Bengal, Kerala and parts of the North-East. Officially, stunning is a mandatory prerequisite for animal slaughterhouses in our country (Rule 6 of 2001 Slaughterhouse Act) and no animal can be slaughtered in front of other animals to avoid any further stress quotient on them. Stunning is also compulsory as per part 4(a) subclause of rule 4.1 of Food Safety and Standard Regulations, 2011.
However, the real situation is quite different and according to a report published by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the Bharatiya slaughterhouses have been accused of severe cruelty against animals; the slaughterhouse workers inhumanly slit animals’ throats with thick dull blades and let them bleed to death with excessive convulsion and sufferings. Cattle are dismembered and deskinned by butchers while they’re still alive and in full view of other living animals. In a contradiction to the national Supreme Court ruling, the West Bengal Animal Slaughter Act, 1950 allows some exemption in ritual kosher and halāl slaughter provisions which according to the Supreme Court of India is completely illegal.
In 2017, the Bharatiya Supreme Court ordered all State Governments to stop the illegal slaughterhouses and set up enforcement committees to monitor the treatment of animals used for meat and leather. The top court also ruled that the Bharatiya Constitution requires the Bharatiya diaspora and citizens to show compassion for the animals, respect the fundamental rights of animals and asked states to prevent cruelty to animals as happening in Kerala, West Bengal etc.
Worldwide the situation is gradually changing towards the enforcement of more stringent laws to stop the animal suffering resulting from ritual slaughters like halāl and kosher. Halāl without stunning is now banned in countries of the European Union like Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherland, Sweden, Switzerland and very recently in Belgium too.
The argument of the Jews and Muslim religious authorities is that since stunning causes injuries to the animal’s brain before its death, thus it cannot be considered ‘appropriate’ (i.e. healthy according to their religious belief, but not scientific) for their ritual slaughter. This argument is no longer accepted by many developed nations. Since 2015, stunning before slaughter has been implemented in the United Kingdom too, but their efforts have not yet been fully successful across all regions, especially because of rapid demography change with the growing numbers of islamic population. Some international halāl certifying authorities have agreed to these clauses, but most of them have not, which includes most of those that are the major halāl meat importing countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and UAE. Therefore, it is evident from the above discussion that for animal slaughter, based on the market, it is primarily the religious tradition that decides upon the fate of the animal and not any scientific attitude; and if that tradition is big enough to generate a trillion-dollar economy then animal welfare aspects are given a damn and readily compromised.
The socio-religious and commercial perspectives of halāl
According to islam, any object, whether for food consumption, garments for wearing or household articles for a living, everything must be made pious or holy, i.e., halāl before its usage. To understand the entire halāl perspective, it will be convenient to classify the entire halāl industry into two categories, i.e., meat and all others.
For the halāl meat industry, the following conditions must be met to consider any meat halāl:-
i) To ensure the halāl slaughter process called ‘dhabīḥah’ (ذَبِيحَة ) or ‘zabihah’ the animal must be separated from other animals (which in reality generally doesn’t happen), the knife must be sharp and the blood from other slaughtered animals must remain hidden from the animal to be slaughtered so that it cannot apprehend death.
ii) The animal must not be unconscious. (how cruel and barbaric tradition)
iii) The animal must be facing the holy place for muslims i.e., kaaba.
iv) Only an islamic cleric will first have to purify his mouth cavity by reciting the islamic kalma, then
v) The cleric must spew his spit (saliva) in the meat and only then it will become halāl or holy according to islam.
vi) The act of slaughter also has to be done ONLY by a muslim.
vii) During the butchery, the animal must be slit at the throat i.e., only the trachea and the carotid artery of the animal must be slit and the animal ‘must’ bleed to death, which is the most important (though extremely brute and inhuman) condition of halāl slaughter.
viii) Also, the animal must be hung upside down and allowed to drip out every drop of blood from its body.
During the daily ongoing business and widespread butchering, the cleric is not available all the time in the abattoir and to get the cleric’s presence for every jugular vein slaughter the butcher will have to cough up significant money as a fee to the cleric, so to avoid getting the cleric for every slaughter the muslim butchers subsequently have started performing the above task of chanting the kalma and spitting on the animal themselves to avoid the above cost and the time constraint to have the cleric available during every slaughter.
You must have heard many times that muslim cooks spit in the roti or biriyani before selling. Any non-muslim will find the process dirty, loathsome, disgusting and unhygienic but according to the Abrahamic religion islam, he was not doing anything offensive or obnoxious, rather making the meat halāl following the hardcore preaching and sermons of islam.
In all muslim food processing factories, bakeries and hotels, all ingredients used are first made halāl in a similar way, i.e., first chopping through the jugular vein, when cutting livestock and then spewing saliva on it.
For all other products and commodities, the halāl process signifies anything that is allowed according to the compliance of the sharia law in islamic jurisprudence.
And since independence, the halāl industry has slowly spread and is encroaching almost every aspect of the life of our nation, even everyday products like food items, medicines & drugs, cosmetics, toiletries, soaps, books, cookies, biscuits, fruit juices, groceries etc. are getting halāl mark. Example
Presently, if you look carefully at various industries – like the fast-food chains, restaurants, culinary and food processing industries, pharmaceuticals, cosmetic & toiletries industry, garments, apparel & jewellery or even real estate; to accommodate one of the minority group of people in the country, most of the processing, bottling and packaging of products is done according to islamic jurisprudence and the halāl mark can be found inscribed in some or other corner of the product(s).
We also need to be aware that when 68-70% of Bharatiya diaspora have no connection whatsoever to sharia law, still hospitals and airports are also gradually adopting halāl certifications. As a matter of fact, halāl has become a ‘consideration point’ for the purchase and sale of almost all products to and from a particular minority community, either indirectly or directly, laying the grounds for the economic apartheid for the majority community of the country.
To realise the deep-rooted social evil of this unfair practice, it won’t be irrelevant to mention the complaint of a senior educationist from Bihar regarding the halāl hegemony that was published in Firstpost on 03rd April 2022, wherein he referred to the masonry sector that has been completely ‘halāl-ised’ in the state. According
to him, surprisingly, the workmen working as masons or ‘raj-mistry’ mostly hailed from the muslim community, while their assistant workers were primarily Hindus. He bemoaned how despite the majority of assistant workers being Hindus, are now forced to accept Fridays as their weekly day off in place of Sunday as the mason they assist insists on that. Such customs initially were happening casually, but what began on a casual basis about a decade back, has now become a well-established practice. This halāl industry is nothing but a sophisticated version of extortion and a ‘certified’ system of ‘hafta wasooli’ for religious exclusivity. Such exclusivity of religious stamps and seals to products had never been imposed by Ramakrishna Paramahansa or Swami Vivekananda for Sanatan Dharmik Hindus nor by Dalai Lama for Tibetan Buddhists or the Vatican for Christians or any of the Sikh Gurus for Akal Takht.
The slaughter procedure and its scientific perspectives
kosher (shechitah) and halāl (dhabīḥah) are the two of the most widespread religious animal slaughter methods practised globally; wherein they have different names but technically it’s the same process followed by two religious communities, namely Jews and muslims, respectively. While traditionally the ‘Jhatka’ slaughter process is followed by the peoples of two of the Bharatiya (Indic) communities, viz. Sanatan Dharmik Hindus and Sikhs. Bharat, despite being divided based on the demand for separate land, based on religion, is still the homeland of around 35 Crores (350 million) muslims, who observe a huge number of slaughters done in the halāl method almost throughout the year, especially during the festival of religious sacrifice. During, kosher or halāl slaughter, a sharpened knife is used to cut at the ventral (front) portion of the neck of the livestock and with a single cut (with multiple strokes without lifting the knife) of
the trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and vagus nerve are truncated to allow the blood to drain out from the body until the animal is dead. This ventral neck incision (VNI) method ensures that the spinal nervous system is intact till the death of the animal. In contrast, during the ‘Jhatka’ procedure of slaughter, a heavier sharpened weapon is used to cut at the dorsal (back) side of the neck to dislodge the entire spinal column from the skull; which not only leads to cervical dislocation but also the decapitation (beheading) in a single blow.
There is another form of slaughter called SSHS (single slice humane slaughter) which is widely used in the Western world advocated by animal rights activists, wherein the animal is mechanically or electrically stunned and then beheaded by a single stroke as a process of euthanasia.
Though the western world recommends slaughter through the process of euthanasia, still the entire global left-leaning media are always hand-in-glove with the halāl industry and even pampered the act with articles and literature flooding the print, online and social media across the world, arguing that the halāl form of slaughter is the best and healthier than the ‘Jhatka’ slaughter process since all blood from the animal’s body is pumped out from the dying animal’s heart. It is also claimed that, for the same reason, halāl meat is tastier and has a longer shelf life. However, there is no scientific study or research to back these false claims.
Now, let us compare ‘Jhatka’ vs halāl slaughter purely from the standard scientific knowledge, research-backed literature and medical perspective to understand which form of slaughter is more humane and ethically recommended from the standpoint of animal welfare.
According to the medical perspective, there are eight aspects of the slaughter technique, which must be considered when comparing the jhatka and kosher or halāl processes:
1st – Without any argument halāl and kosher are the cruellest form of slaughter, where the animal’s throat is cut and it is left to die by inches in bits and pieces after constant suffering of unbearable gruesome pain together with profuse bleeding.
This inhuman cruelty impacts the slaughterer process adversely as it hardens the psyche and takes away compassion and also triggers a complex chain of biochemical and emotional reactions in the animal’s brain.
2nd – The ritual slaughter of halāl allows pathogens to enter the blood very easily and spread throughout the body of the animal whilst it is in its death throes and violent pangs of suffering. And because the livestock is constantly suffering and slowly dying a painful death, it can suffer strong convulsions which means that the entire slaughter area becomes contaminated with urine and excrement (waste matters and or faeces discharged from the animal body).
3rd – As a consequence of halāl and kosher slaughter, an animal is brutally cut open on its jugular vein compelling it to constantly feel unendurable pain because its spinal cord is intact and is yet to die. With such an inhuman slaughter process the body of the animal profusely releases stress hormones, called noradrenaline and adrenaline, both of which are known to be bad for the human heart.
Excess adrenaline can cause narrowing of the small arteries that supply blood to the heart and decrease the blood flow to the heart. It can also cause constriction of small blood vessels which can reduce blood flow to the brain, including other respective organs and can lead to neurological damage.
Noradrenaline, on the other hand, triggers the narrowing of blood vessels called vasoconstriction, which increases blood pressure resulting in a negative effect on the human heart muscles.
On the contrary, ‘Jhatka’ slaughter doesn’t cause these stress hormone secretions at all, because the rapidity of death ensues decapitation. Further study is on the way for a vivid comparison between ‘Jhatka’ and halāl to trace the exact difference in cardiac diseases based on stress hormone secretion, but according to empirical observation ‘Jhatka’ seems to be a much painless thus superior slaughter process.
4th – The claim of the left-leaning media that halāl leads to the cleansing of blood from the animal’s body factually makes no sense and is completely baseless because though blood is known to be a good culture medium of bacteria, there is no clear evidence that fresh blood is harmful to the body as the meat that is consumed has blood cells enmeshed in it anyway. In addition, according to the principle of hypercoagulation, blood naturally tends to clot when exposed to air due to any cut or skin rupture, so clotting around the carotids would anyway block the flow, hampering the exit of blood which is falsely claimed as per islamic
religious tabu as a lame argument to spuriously support halāl industry unless it is backed with solid scientific research, data and evidence.
5th – Any sensation felt in the animal body (somatic cells) is first perceived by the cognate receptor proteins and it is then transmitted by nerves or collection of neurons through the spinal cord to the brain. The response from the brain again is transmitted back through the neurons of the spinal cord and manifested by the effector muscles of the body. In the event of kosher or halāl slaughter, this spinal nerve pathway is purposely not disturbed while in the case of ‘Jhatka’ it is disrupted instantaneously; hence, the sensation of pain is bound to be lost immediately in the ‘Jhatka’ method while in case of halāl, the pain sensation is transmitted from the brain until the animal dies.
6th – One of the most scientific and well-accepted processes to measure pain in the animal body is the EEG (Electroencephalogram) or the study of neuronal electrical response in the brain. Many docile animals like cows, goats, sheep and camels do not always visibly exhibit their pain; while the EEG study works perfectly to unearth their acute sensation of pain. Scientists have shown that within 5 to 10 seconds of the cervical dislocation as it occurs during the ‘Jhatka’ slaughter, the function of the cerebral cortex (brain) ceases. Similar studies by French investigators for ventral neck incision that happens during halāl slaughter have shown the animal to exhibit immense pain response often up to 60 to 90 seconds and sometimes for minutes depending on the health and strength of the animal.
Moreover, if the cut is not successful during halāl, the animal undergoes even more unbearable pain. The reason behind this suffering is twofold: primarily, the vertebral arteries that also supply blood to the brain are unaffected during kosher
or halāl slaughter; and secondly, the nerve connection through the spinal cord is intact.
In contrast, during the ‘Jhatka’ way of slaughter, both the neural and blood vascular connection is instantaneously disrupted; as a result, oxygen supply to the brain ceases instantly and hence, the animal post-decapitation, almost immediately loses completely consciousness. The VNI instigated during halāl or kosher slaughter causes ‘noxious stimulation’ and contributes to a significant increase in the feeling of pain in the animal under slaughter as per the studies of Australasian and British groups of researchers.
7th – In North America and USA, the majority of the state animal welfare regulatory authorities recommend single blow or ‘Jhatka’ slaughter for all livestock and cattle along with slaughter followed by stunning (a rapid electrical or mechanical method to cause immediate deprivation of consciousness). Euthanasia, i.e., ethical planned killing by decapitation produces prompt, painless unconsciousness in laboratory rodents. According to PHS (Policy of Humane Care and use of laboratory animals) and AWA (Animal Welfare Act), decapitation and cervical dislocation are scientifically and ethically approved methods of animal euthanasia while ventral neck incision is only recommended post-gas-stunning by using a high concentration of anaesthesia or carbon-di-oxide. For
laboratory experiments on animals, these rules are followed worldwide across the scientific fraternity.
And finally, different groups of researchers across the globe have time and again provided evidence to prove that during the kosher or halāl slaughter, the animals undergo an immense amount of stress; in the case of cows, bulls, sheep and goats, the level of three stress hormones, viz. cortisol, noradrenaline and dopamine increase by 30% to 50%. This occurs because the release of most of our hormones, including all the stress hormones, is neuronally controlled by our brain through hypothalamic secretions.
The pioneering work of a famous American scientist called Temple Grandin shows that if slaughter is performed without stunning, blood cortisol level increases followed by an increase in the muscle temperature of the animal. According to some media houses like Times Of India (27th March 2021) and news9live (4th April 2022), “… experts say, to keep the meat tender, pH count in the animal body should be around 5.4 after slaughter, in jhatka it goes up to as high as 7” … but in reality, stunning is undoubtedly the best process, wherein a moderate level of adrenaline secretion as a response to stress converts muscle glycogen into lactic acid which lowers the meat’s pH (making it acidic) and this not only keeps the meat tender and pinkish in colour but it also protects from the growth of harmful bacteria. But with the stressful slaughter method, excess secretion of the same hormone quickly causes depletion of the total pool of muscle glycogen; hence, by the time the meat is marketised, no more lactic acid is left in it, causing a higher pH level which promotes bacterial growth with darker, drier and stiffer meat quality.
Moreover, most of the stress hormones (except adrenaline) are steroids in chemical nature and thus can traverse to the cell membrane directly to bind with the nuclear (DNA) receptors causing irreversible genomic changes to the cell; the effect of this interaction could be long lasting even after complete removal of the blood from the body of the slaughtered animal.
A similar phenomenon has been observed in the case of sheep meat where researchers found that artificial injection of stress hormones destroys the texture and taste of the meat. A similar study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, USA found that probably due to a lower stress response during decapitation i.e., ‘Jhatka’, the levels of corticosterone were consistently low in rapidly decapitated mice without anaesthesia.
pH – a quantitative measure of the acidity or basicity
Other scientific & social implications of religion-based halāl tabu
Shifting away from meat, let us evaluate the other implications of the halāl certification process in our day to day life:-
The advocators of halāl ideology, any component derived from pigs or alcohol is shunned and banned from usage thus haram. Firstly, let us understand that a huge number of allopathic drugs belonging to the category of laxatives, cough syrups, antidotes and disinfectants need alcohol as a base component and concentrated spirit is used as the best skin disinfectant. Now the obvious question is, are we as human civilisation going to abandon the usage of time-tested drug compositions and compounds like alcohol & spirits that shield us from bacteria and viruses and further spend billions and trillions of cash, infrastructure and resources to
initiate re-research and re-introduce complete new sets of medicines and drugs without alcohol and spirits into the health services system, just to pamper and appease some illogical, unscientific religious tabu and beliefs?
Moreover, besides spending additional billions of dollars and man-hours plus incurring huge losses in such an endeavour, is there any assurance and surety of finding alternatives to alcohol and spirits?
Secondly, the pig is genetically the closest animal to a human being and holds the key to revolutionary procedures of treatments for various severe human ailments like Parkinson’s, diabetes, contractures and burns etc.
Moreover, the pig’s pancreas was the only source of insulin capable of being produced on an industrial scale until just a few years ago which helped to save millions of lives suffering from high blood sugar. So, the Pig derivatives have a massive potential in the pharmaceutical industries and medical treatment.
Moreover, as an alternative to human skin, Pig-skin is used in the surgery of contractures and burns.
Unfortunately, to pamper such unscientific and fanatic tabu, even the American pharmaceutical companies were forced to replace pork gelatine with a much more expensive alternative as a covering for capsules and replaced with beef gelatine, costing billions of dollars to not only muslim consumers but the pocket of all the patients and their families irrespective of religions. Can we even conceive of such reprehensible loss of human lives and resulting morbidity that can stem from abandoning research on such an area with massive potential?
It is needless to mention, that halāl practice is completely religiously discriminatory and this discrimination against non-muslims eventually cuts off all the non-muslims from jobs and employment, just to maintain the medieval religious requirements of the halāl process and the most dangerous aspect of the halāl industry lies in how it works toward an indirect control over the global supply chain resulting in a severe economic demerit because the norms imposed by an unyielding community forces the manufacturers across the industries and producers to move towards the compliance of halāl conditions, especially if ‘those who don’t care’ for halāl ‘do not object’.
As a consequence, all farm, poultry and meat products supplied to airlines including Air India, IRCTC & Bharatiya Railways, and five-star hotels are mostly controlled by halāl-certified vendors only, so without any Government approved certification and any legal or scientific basis, halālonomics (halāl economy) have completely intruded into our food and product supply chain and day by day increasing monopolisation of the global food chain and other commodities at the hand of a single religious community is pushing the rest of all other communities economically vulnerable.
The halāl market is now some billions of dollars worth of economy as procuring the halāl certifications is an imposition on every related business and inflicts a huge cost on the manufacturer for certificates and ultimately adds the cost burden
to the entire consumers in the society, even if they don’t have such halāl dietary compulsion.
As the intransigent minority refuses to yield, the corporate world and even the mighty central and state Government authorities have either capitulated and surrendered or feigned ignorance of this pressure and the danger of the halāl economy is knocking at our doors. According to ‘Fortune Business Insights’, the halāl market is projected to grow from US$ 2.09 trillion in 2021 to US$ 11.20 trillion by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.56% during the forecast period of 2021-2028. This rapid rise in CAGR is primarily due to the rapid growth in demand for halāl products not only across the islamic countries but also across non-islamic countries as there is a reckless demographic change and increase in the muslim population, with the aspiration of implementing islamic sharia law and establishing islamic caliphate, the world over.
So, we must wake up immediately from our slumber to take note and resist this supply chain hijacking when large corporations like Bharatiya Railways, Patanjali, Air India, Amul, Cadbury, Britania, Bikaji, KFC and McDonald’s yielded to the halāl pressure else the intolerant minority will ruin the entire global economy resulting to job loss of millions of non-muslim workers leading to forced religious conversion to retain jobs, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb rightly mentioned, “… it is the most intolerant, howsoever minuscule they might be, who win in imposing their
views on the majority, thus the intolerant minority always wins …” in his book ‘Skin in The Game’.
The irony is even opposition to halāl is often decried as islamophobia when what is being objected to is an annoyance, and irritating imposition or infliction of non-scientific standards on the rest of all other communities.
In conclusion, we found that even scientifically, meat procured in the halāl process is in no way superior in comparison to meat procured through jhatka slaughter. Deliberating the scientific health option, jhatka is anytime a better proposition considering the discharge of the stress hormones from the immense pain feeling of the jugular vein cut open animals.
Thus, the ‘Jhatka’ process is the closest to humane slaughter. So to combat this monopolistic trade of meat by the muslims for employing only muslims Jhatka meat is the only answer for each and every human being (at least for non-muslims).