So it has recently come to light (or rather the Sun and the Daily Mail have blasted it everywhere) that Halal chicken has been being used in Pizza Express without it being made known publicly. That, along with the story that some 185 Subways have cut pork from the menu has caused a lot of people to express the following views:
That people should quit whining.
This is just UKIP and those Right Wing, Xenophobic racists scaremongering and promoting the idea that there is an ‘islamification of Britain’.
Halal meat is no different from non-halal meat, and there is no reason people should be up in arms when the usual methods of killing are just as gruesome.
My own views are far more liberal (although, I believe the people expressing the views above see their own views as liberal). What I feel most people are ignoring is the fact that our society is based on the idea that we should be equal and democratic. Everybody should have a say, and everybody should be treated equally. Although this doesn’t happen, that’s what we strive for.
I think it’s a good idea that Halal meat is offered in more places as the muslim population continues to grow. I think it’s good that they are having more options open to them, especially in mainstream chains. I don’t think people should be labelled as racist for being unhappy with the idea of being fed Halal meat without it being made abundantly clear that that is what it is.
To make it clear: I dislike the idea of slitting an animal’s throat while it’s fully conscious, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s probably the least of an animal’s problems in production. As bad as it sounds, I am not an animal rights activist and I am not overly concerned with the way they are slaughtered. I don’t care if I eat Halal meat, it’s all the same to me.
I believe that all Halal meat should be clearly labelled in stores and on menus, because for some, the ritualistic element is not something they agree with. For some Christians for example, if they fundamentally disagree with Islam, they may not want to eat food which has had an Islamic blessing on it. For an Atheist, they may want to eat food free from any religious ritual which they fundamentally disagree with. People should be given a clear choice and be able to make an informed decision on what they are eating, without being labelled ‘racist’ or Islamophobic because they don’t agree with it.
My second view is that the choice of pork should not be taken away from non-muslims. In a society that strives to be equal, removing the options and choices of one group to benefit another goes against the whole meaning of equality. Yes, of course I know that we are talking about a few small scraps of bacon replaced by turkey rashers, but the principle still stands. In addition, I feel that Subway’s decision to do this was a bad move. In a time when UKIP and the BNP are spouting their frankly racist views about Immigration, removing that small choice for the ‘indigenous’ (and I use that word lightly) people is giving them plenty of ammunition the rest of us would rather they did not have.
My last thought is a general one about religion. It seems to me that religion always seems to be above the law in a lot of cases. There are always exceptions for religions, and again, in a society which is still striving for equality (which we will never have) this is something we must be wary of.