Spain: Dispute over halal on trains

The Spanish rail company RENFE wanted to introduce a menu for Muslim who wanted halal food on its high speed trains, but this was rejected by the Muslim council of Spain, writes SpaniaNytt.

The Muslim council says in a press release that if RENFE will present a menu according to halal regulations it will not be enough to take out alcohol and pork from the menu. They must also take note of how the animals are slaughtered, what type of oil is used in cooking and a list of other issues.

RENFE had earlier introduced menus for vegetarians, diabetic, people who need a gluten-free diet, children, Kosher menu for Jews and a light salt menu.

The company offering the catering services for RENFE says that the kosher menu is produced outside Spain and is under supervision of a rabbi.

Source: AgderAvisen (Norwegian)


Anonymous said...

Not that Muslims are malignant marcissists or anything. Have you ever heard of a vegetarian demanding that anyone ban dead animals from an entire menu or someone who keeps kosher demanding that everything on a menu be kosher? Of course not, because they're not mentally ill, intolerant hypocrites, and if some in the lot happen to be, the rest don't choose them as representatives for the rest of them.

And as I've said before, halal meat should be banned. It is the most abusive, cruel, least humane way to slaughter animals short of torturing them at length for hours and days beforehand. Why do otherwise reasonable, decent, moral, ethical people bend over backward and compromise the most basic values and principles of a civilized society to accomodate a bunch of sickos who are unfathomably intolerant of us, despite the fact that our society works and progresses, and their societies fail and regress? I don't which side is sicker or more self-destructive.

Esther said...

Hi jetabler,

The Muslim council isn't demanding anything regarding the entire menu. It's saying that the menu isn't really halal. It would be interesting to know whether any Muslim authority did approve that the menu is halal.

As for Jews - it specifically says that the food is prepared under rabbinic supervision. If it wouldn't be, you could be sure that (religious) Jews would say it isn't kosher.

Eating meat in today's industrial world is cruel, period. The animals are most times raised in horrible conditions aimed at giving you the consumer the tastiest piece of steak.

Have you made a survey of animals recently that you know halal slaughter is so bad? I don't think it tortures animals more than any other slaughterhouse, where (would you believe it) - not all animals are anesthsized before death.

Daphne said...

European law states that animals must be killed humanely. The law, following advice from scientists insists that the most humane way of killing an animal is to stun it first.
We live in a democracy where everyone should obey the law. Yet an exception is made for halal meat (and kosher meat). Why is this? If it is inhumane then the law should apply to everyone. It is a foolish law if it is claiming muslims have the right to be inhumane because of their religion

Esther said...

Hi Daphne,

There are European countries where halal slaughter is done only after the animal is stunned. I don't know what's the situation in Spain.

European countries are still arguing whether pigs should be stunned before castration. European laws regarding humanity to animals sometimes take other issues into account, not only religion.

This article talks about Spain, and Spain is the country where bulls are still stabbed to death in front of cheering audiences. So is it only religion that allows for inhumanity to animals?

Daphne said...

Hi Esther,
Do you know which countries these are? If the animal slaugher is done after the animal is stunned then it is not halal meat. Unless there has been a fatwa I have not heard of.

Bullfighting is allowed in Spain but the law is consistent. Everyone can fight a bull regardless of race, crede or religion. (the matadors that is. Not the bulls. No one cares about the bulls beliefs) According to EU legislation on slaughtering

"practices aims to minimise the pain and suffering of animals through the use of properly approved stunning and killing methods, based on scientific knowledge and practical experience"

But if you are a muslim you do not have to worry about that and can maximise the suffering of animals.

This is from the National secular site:
FAWC Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing in recommendation 61 that slaughter without prior stunning be ban banned, as it is in many other major meat producing countries

Esther said...

Hi Daphne,

You seem to be following the more strict Muslim rules.

I think that technically speaking, Muslims have been allowed to eat non-halal meat in the past. I'm sure you've heard about those fatwas? Traditional Muslim rules are not black and white and between halal and haram there are various degrees of 'permitted but not advised'.

This fatwa is actually the reason why halal slaughter was banned in Germany, while kosher slaughter was allowed.

To answer your question, I know that halal slaughtered animals are stunned in Denmark, there was also a dispute in Norway when the Islamic Council recently ruled that the chickens which had been halal were stunned and therefore not really halal.

According to what you say, it's ok to kill animals as a public spectacle, only because they're not used for food?

Does that mean that if I would eat a dead bull from a bull fight I would be transgressing the law?

It's all nice and well to put arbitrary divisions on what's acceptable and unacceptable. Frankly, I think it's a country's and society's right. But it should be recognized that these are arbitrary and culturally based. It's not an issue of being humane to animals, it's an issue of which cases society wants to be humane.

Anonymous said...

Esther, I am in no way advocating Kosher slaughter or bull slaughtering for public amusement. But they were saying that because not everything on the menu is halal that nothing is. That was the crux of their argument. I also have a friend who keeps kosher and only eats in vegetarian restaurants so as to know that what she eats is kosher, which is smart, and I know because I worker in a restaurant for 11 years.

And Muslims are only allowed to eat non-halal or pseudo-halal (where animals are stunned before slaughter) meat under conditions of "extreme emergency." This is why this it is our duty as civilized people to ban halal slaughter and the importation of meat. We have to draw a line in the sand between what's acceptable and what isn't. And they will realize that the solid (as they believe) sky will not come crashing down on them if they eat animals which are slaughtered in some remotely humane fashion.

I just wish everyone would stop eating meat. There would be no grain shortages, far less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and lower health costs for everyone. And it's gross.

Daphne said...

Hi Esther,
My argument was on the consistency of the law. Atrocious as bullfighting may be the law in Spain is consistent and applies to everyone regardless.
The law on slaughtering animals for consumption is not consistent in the UK and muslims do not have to comply with a law which is enforced on everyone else.

topoftherock said...

Can someone please explain to me how Halal mean is more cruel than the systems used right now in America and Europe? What's so cruel about slaughtering in a Halal way? I have seen how it is done and it's fast and quick, I think it's a lot better for the animal. It's done by hand, and a sharp knife is used...maybe jetabler and Daphne, who have witnessed it and condemn it, can explain further.

Daphne said...

Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), which advises the government on how to avoid cruelty to livestock, says the way Kosher and Halal meat is produced causes severe suffering to animals.
I don't expect religious clerics to agree with this but these are independent experts.
I have seen a video of ritual slaughter and it is not a quick cut with a sharp knife. There was a PETA video which showed the inside of an abbatoir where ritual slaughter occured and it was not quick at all. It was prolonged suffering. Imagine a human being having his throat cut and being allowed to bleed to death. An animal suffers just as a human being does.

"The Humanists movement, which has previously called for the abolition of ritual slaughter, said ethical values should be put above religious ones.

"There is no imperative for Muslims or Judaists to eat meat produced in this manner," said spokesman Roy Saich.

Esther said...

Hi Daphne,

If you speak about the law applying equally, I agree with you.

If you speak about the suffering of animals - have you ever visited a regular slaughterhouse? Have you, for that matter, visited a commercial farm?

Not you specificially, but it's hard to take people seriously when they speak about the cruelty of this or that type of slaughter when they do it over foie gras.

I've seen animal rights reports that say that not all animals in regular slaughterhouses are stunned before being killed. And there's nobody there who cares how long they then suffer. I know that in Judaism, and I think also in Islam, preventing the suffering of the animal is paramount. You might not agree with the method, but there is such a concern.

In any country, when the law allows what it sees as culturally and socially acceptable - for example, hunting, castrating, bull fighting.

If you narrow the field enough and ignore all possible exemptions when animals are killed in the most inhumane manner for non-religious reasons, then you can of course say that exemptions are given only for religious reasons.

Daphne said...

It is equality before the law that is important. Having one law for one religion and a different law for another religion is no different from having one law for the rich and another for the poor. It creates disparity and makes a mockery of the law.
I have no doubt that abuse of the law happens in slaughterhouses. Religious as well as secular. The law is there to prevent that abuse. Just as a law against drugs does not prevent the abuse of drugs. But people caught and convicted are punished.
If ritual slaughter is no different from stunning an animal first then why did the govt introduce the law? They were following the advice of scientists who proclaimed that ritual slaughter caused undue suffering.
The govt should not then introduce a law which reduces suffering for some animals and not for others. It makes an ass of the law.
Either have a law applicable to everyone or do not introduce the law at all.