Blackwell's suggestion that the UK "may well" have to follow Denmark's example if British Jews and Muslims refuse to allow animals to be stunned before they are killed did not please the groups concerned. Nor did his assertion that cutting the throat of an animal without stunning it caused prolonged and unnecessary suffering.Well, he’s head of the vet’s union – he really ought to know.
"They will feel the cut," he said. "They will feel the massive injury of the tissues to the neck. They will perceive the aspiration of blood they will breathe in before they lose consciousness."Which seem like a pretty un-challengable statement to me. We don't execute condemned prisoner this way, because it's so 'humane', do we?
… Blackwell's intervention has met with a swift and furious response from Jewish and Muslim groups, who argue their long-practised methods are completely humane.Yes, I’m sure it has. So what? It's 2014, and it's time they adapted.
"He has made the extraordinarily misleading statement that what Jews do and Muslims do is to slit animals' throats and allow them to bleed to death," said Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
"That is unbelievably misleading because he must know that the way the animal is killed is to cut its throat so as to bring about an immediate and irreversible loss of sensation and death."
Suggestions that the animal had its throat cut "and you just watch it while it bleeds to death", said Arkush, were pejorative, misleading and "could not be further from the truth".He's a vet. Not a god-botherer. So he deals in reality. Not fantasy.
Shimon Cohen, campaign director at Shechita UK – which campaigns for the right to carry out Jewish religious slaughter – described Blackwell's calls as "an extraordinary dereliction of duty" and asked why he had decided to focus on an issue that affected only a tiny minority of animals.Is he talking about the livestock, or..?
Arkush also said he feared that the Danish government had introduced the ban as a reaction to increasing public discontent over Muslim immigration.Ah, of course! It's all a big conspiracy!
Dr Shuja Shafi, the deputy secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said he was disappointed that the issue of religious slaughter had been brought up yet again. "Halal is a humane method; it's a clean, clear method and has got rules and regulations about how it's carried out," he said.
"Stunning has got lots of problems in itself … and if it's not done properly, actually animals are a lot worse off."That’s odd, Dr Shafi, because… that’s not what these Muslims say? So which part do you belong to?
”The stunning of animals for halal meat was until recently a non-issue. However, over the past few years many people have mistakenly been informed that stunning animals renders the meat as haram. This is a complete fallacy. As with most things in Islam there are differences of opinion.
The origins of this fallacy originate from a certain halal food authority that has decided not to certify any company that uses meat from stunned animals. On closer inspection of their position it is clear that they are simply implementing this policy as a "caution". They do not state, and can not state, that the meat from stunned animals is haram. This is because it is well documented that meat of stunned animals is completely halal under certain conditions.
Scholars of fiqh, the people who understand, interpret and explain the shariah, are more or less unanimous that the meat of stunned animals is halal.”It’s clearly that ‘less unanimous’ part, then, Dr Shafi?
Well, at least you are ahead of the Jews for once, since they don't even have an alternative viewpoint, at least, not one I could find.
He also said that focusing on minority religious practices "could give ammunition" to the far right, which already uses halal slaughter as a means to try to attack the Muslim community.Ah, of course! The only reason to dislike this form of slaughter is because you dislike Muslims - it can't possibly be for any other reason.
"People should be more responsible in how they tackle this. It's going to cause confusion and will be used by elements to have a negative effect."What's 'negative' about reminding these people that the law should apply equally to all, without exception?