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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Lib Dems and ritual slaughter

No, not last week's elections...Ritual slaughter (kosher and halal) is in the news again (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17966327). This is a policy area that is fraught with controversy and misconceptions. I assume that (like abortion and capital punishment) it is a 'free vote' issue of conscience for individual MPs, rather than a party political issue. In a speech in November 2010, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg correctly said: "...on 'shechita', the Jewish humane way of slaughtering animals for meat - I have always supported its continuance in this country, and I always will. The Liberal Democrats have never adopted any policy that threatens the right to shechita, and it is my intention that we never shall." If you are interested in the arguments surrounding a complicated issue that involves not only animal welfare but also religious freedom, then you may wish to read http://matthewfharris.blogspot.com/2011/04/food-for-thought-on-meat-labelling.html?m=1 and http://matthewfharris.blogspot.com/2011/06/lots-of-news-on-religious-slaughter.html?m=1.

2 comments:

  1. There is a lot to be said for going vegetarian as those do in places where kosher meat is not available such as Vietnam.

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    1. Thank you. I respect the fact that you are a vegetarian living in Thailand, according to your profile. I have previously written that if one really cared about animal welfare, one would be unable to support any slaughter of animals for meat and one would therefore be a vegetarian. Despite that, I am, rightly or wrongly, a meat-eater, and a meat-eater living not in Thailand or Vietnam, but in England. In my country, the kosher slaughter of animals for meat has been legal for centuries. It is regulated by the same (secular) authorities that regulate the slaughter of all other animals for meat. I see no reason to change any of this now. Vietnam can make its own decisions, but, in my country, I would take exception to any change to the law that meant that kosher meat was no longer available, and that religious Jews were therefore obliged to become vegetarians. I appreciate that you have not here proposed any such change to the law, but merely said that there is a lot to be said for going vegetarian in places where kosher meat is not available, such as Vietnam. Well, fair enough, but not in my country, please - in England, I want vegetarianism to remain a choice, not an obligation, including for religious Jews.

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