‘Nothing illegal at abattoir’

EDITOR - I am writing at length in reply to Teresa Turner’s letter published last week condemning the Halal slaughterhouse in Skegness.

Whilst I do believe she has animal welfare as her primary concern, I feel she is being naïve at times and disingenuous at others.

Poland may well have imposed a ban but that rather says something more about their intolerance to minorities rather than any concern for animal welfare especially given that it was once Europe’s Jewish heartland.

Secular ways of slaughter also have their many downsides such as animals having their skull cracked open, being electrocuted, or put in a gas chamber and the dangers of “mis-stunning” - which leaves the animal conscious and in pain, and occurs “relatively frequently”, according to a 2004 report by the European Food Safety Authority. Over 90% of Halal animals are stunned first (those slaughtered by the Jewish method are not) anyway so it is a falsity to claim that this method is being used as a cheap alternative.

As for labelling, which is something I do agree with, an attempt was made to introduce it in Parliament but it was narrowly defeated as Gerald Kaufman rightly argued that if meat is going to be labelled halal or kosher then the consumer should also be informed if it was reared in battery style conditions, which are just as cruel.

Ms Turner also states that the person responsible for bringing the BNP and National Front to Skegness is the individual who rented the premises to Silverside.

That person cannot be accused of attracting far right wing groups here because of a perfectly legal business transaction. They come here because they use Halal as a convenient issue to whip up Islamaphobia and spread their vile viewpoints about Islam by exploiting people’s fears without strangely mentioning Judaism and Kosher.

There is no reason that the slaughterhouse shouldn’t have opened in Skegness as nothing illegal is happening and it can export worldwide. Skegness does not exist in a vacuum exempt from the laws of the land.

Ms Turner may think it immoral which is of course her right and can campaign to make it illegal. Halal and Kosher have never been illegal or banned as the exemptions were introduced in 1928/33 (Scotland/England and Wales) when so called modern ‘humane’ stunning methods began to be used; therefore it was hardly the Middle Ages when the secular methods supposedly improved.

If you are a meat eater you automatically accept that the process in which it ends up on your plate is not pleasant whatever method is used. The only alternative is to become a vegetarian and oppose all methods of slaughter equally.

Ben Peel