Cru­elty to an­i­mals has no place

The Cairns Post - - VIEWS - Rita Panahi is a Her­ald Sun colum­nist

VE­GANS can be a ter­ri­bly tire­some lot and you prob­a­bly don’t want to be seated next to one at a din­ner party but, on the whole, they are among the more prin­ci­pled ac­tivists in this age of virtue-sig­nalling click­tivism.

They don’t just preach and hector, they ac­tu­ally do, and their ob­jec­tives are usu­ally good.

Most Aus­tralians care deeply about an­i­mal wel­fare whether it’s pets, wildlife or live­stock but many of us would rather not think too much about where our meat comes from and how it is slaugh­tered.

We want to be­lieve that live­stock is well cared for and killed in the most hu­mane way pos­si­ble but the truth is many would rather turn a blind eye to the re­al­ity of fac­tory farming and slaugh­ter­house prac­tices.

Gen­er­a­tions to come will look back at our treat­ment of live­stock and won­der how peo­ple who were so con­cerned with an­i­mal rights could tol­er­ate such wide­spread cru­elty.

One coun­try that has taken steps to re­duce an­i­mal suf­fer­ing is Bel­gium which has banned re­li­gious slaugh­ter­ing prac­tices.

From the start of Jan­uary it is no longer le­gal to kill an­i­mals without stun­ning them first in the Flan­ders re­gion with the ban com­ing into ef­fect in the south­ern re­gion in Sep­tem­ber.

Only the Brus­sels re­gion will be un­af­fected by the bans which ef­fec­tively mean Jewish kosher and Mus­lim ha­lal slaugh­ter is il­le­gal. Those wish­ing to pur­chase ha­lal or kosher meat in other parts of Bel­gium will likely pay more as the prod­ucts will have to be im­ported.

It’s a move that has out­raged many in the Jewish and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties but is said to en­joy wide­spread sup­port among Bel­gians.

After all, an­i­mal cru­elty is an­i­mal cru­elty whether it’s in the name of re­li­gion or not.

Ar­chaic re­li­gious be­liefs should not be used to jus­tify in­hu­mane prac­tices and the Bel­gian laws mir­ror what has been im­ple­mented in some other Euro­pean coun­tries in­clud­ing Ice­land, Nor­way and Slove­nia.

That hasn’t stopped le­gal chal­lenges to the laws which have thus far failed but more le­gal ac­tion is ex­pected in Bel­gium’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

“It is a sad day for re­li­gious free­dom in Europe,” said pres­i­dent of the Con­fer­ence of Euro­pean Rab­bis, Pin­chas Gold­schmidt who called the laws “an at­tack on the free­dom of re­li­gion.”

Saatci Bayram, a leader of the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, also be­lieves the new laws are un­just.

“The gov­ern­ment asked for our ad­vice on the ban, we re­sponded neg­a­tively, but the ad­vice wasn’t taken,” he said. “This ban is pre­sented as a rev­e­la­tion by an­i­mal rights ac­tivists, but the de­bate on an­i­mal wel­fare in Is­lam has been go­ing on for 1500 years. Our way of rit­ual slaugh­ter­ing is pain­less.”

Lit­tle won­der that Mr Bayram’s ad­vice was ig­nored. To pre­tend that cut­ting the throat of an an­i­mal is “pain­less” is plainly ab­surd.

Ha­lal and kosher rit­u­als re­quire an an­i­mal that is in “per­fect health” to have its throat slashed without first be­ing stunned. An­i­mal rights ac­tivists have blamed re­li­gious au­thor­i­ties who con­tinue to de­cree that an an­i­mal that is first stunned be­fore it is cut is not con­sid­ered kosher or ha­lal.

“They could still con­sider it rit­ual slaugh­ter­ing … (but) they want to keep liv­ing in the Mid­dle Ages and con­tinue to slaugh­ter without stun­ning, as the tech­nique didn’t yet ex­ist back then, without hav­ing to an­swer to the law,” said direc­tor of Global Ac­tion in the In­ter­est of An­i­mals, Ann De Greef.

“Well, I’m sorry, in Bel­gium the law is above re­li­gion and that will stay like that.”

Bel­gians have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to an­i­mal rights from ban­ning bat­tery cages for chick­ens to mea­sures to ster­ilise ev­ery sin­gle cat to ad­dress the num­ber of un­wanted an­i­mals be­ing put down.

But these lat­est laws have been met with a pre­dictable re­sponse from sec­tions of the Left who see only racism be­cause their ide­o­log­i­cal op­po­nents on the cen­tre-right worked with an­i­mal rights cam­paign­ers to en­act the laws. It seems some folk who pre­tend to care about an­i­mal wel­fare would rather look the other way if the cru­elty is com­mit­ted by cer­tain mi­nor­ity groups.

There is a bet­ter way and we must pur­sue it. The mis­treat­ment of live­stock is an is­sue that de­serves far greater cov­er­age but it is one that for most meat eaters is an un­com­fort­able re­al­ity we’d rather ig­nore.

CARE: Bel­gium has taken prac­ti­cal steps to de­crease an­i­mal suf­fer­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.