The Jakarta Post
This letter refers to an article titled 'Slaughterhouse rules: Is halal always humane?' (The Jakarta Post, ANN, April 7). Thanks for publishing this article. Muslims need to be informed that halal meat suppliers cannot always be trusted.
I heard a religious leader once say that meat is not halal if the animal was not raised humanely. Even if a certified halal butcher says bismillah (in the name of Allah) before killing an animal, the meat is not considered halal if the animal was not properly fed or raised in a fenced-off area or cage.
His argument is geared toward less-prevalent Islamic areas like the US and Europe, where they have endured meat recalls from malpractice. Countries that are predominantly Muslim may not be safe either from such a situation because of the evolution of the food industry.
Worst of all, there have been reports of pig parts being fed to cows. If possible, go for free-range, organic meat. It is difficult since anyone can slap the words organic, free range on a package. With that said, we need to do our homework.
I was born and raised in a Western country where such malpractice is rampant despite the laws and regulations. I did my homework and even took a class on this food issue in college as well as checked out meat farms.
As a result, I had a discussion with my butcher and he reassured me that chicken, cows and goats are fed with natural feed and raised properly outside on pastures. Without intending to, I've been going to a progressive butcher who only serves halal organic, free range meat.
Now that I just recently moved to Indonesia, I'm left with uncertainty on the condition of how meat is raised here. Because the country is still emerging, the hope is that large factory farms do not exist yet. In my opinion, as a Muslim trying to stay informed, halal should also mean humanely raised and not just refer to the slaughtering process.
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