Officials at Paris, Lyon and Evry mosques believe the slaughter conditions, which are expected to come into effect in July, will make it impossible to meet the principles of halal poultry slaughter.

France and other European countries, like Belgium, have taken similar steps against halal meat, while local authorities forced a halal supermarket in a Paris suburb to sell alcohol and pork products.
France and other European countries, like Belgium, have taken similar steps against halal meat, while local authorities forced a halal supermarket in a Paris suburb to sell alcohol and pork products. (AFP Archive)

Several Muslim leaders in France have criticised a recent move that is expected to have an impact on the slaughter of poultry in line with Islamic principles. 

A joint statement issued by Paris Mosque director Chemseddine Hafez, Lyon Mosque director Kamel Kaptane and Evry Mosque director Khalil Maroun –– who are empowered to issue authorisations for halal slaughter –– on Thursday said they are debating how to raise awareness around new technical instructions from the French agriculture ministry.

The publication of technical instruction DGAL/SDSSA/2020-722 from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food dated 23/11/2020 establishes more "official controls relating to animal protection in poultry slaughter establishments at the time of their killing", the mosques' statement said. 

Officials at the mosque believe the slaughter conditions, which come into effect in July, will make it impossible to meet the principles of halal poultry slaughter. 

The French Ministry’s circular "sends a negative message to the large Muslim community", the statement added.

However, the French agriculture ministry's circular mentions certain exceptions will be made to respect religious rituals.

The three mosque administrators, who met on March 15, conveyed their concerns to the relevant ministry, the joint statement said.

“These precautions are a serious obstacle preventing people from freely practising their religion,” the statement read, adding that they are planning to take necessary legal action to restore the “fundamental right.”

The Muslim leaders have also discussed the matter with leaders of the Jewish community in France.

READ MORE: Outrage after France tells Muslim shop to sell pork, alcohol

Campaign against halal meat

European Union members have varying rules and guidelines for halal slaughter.

Halal and kosher slaughter of animals is banned in Flanders region in Belgium, triggering a backlash from Muslim and Jewish communities. 

Some animal rights activists in Europe argue that the Islamic halal and Jewish kosher rules for ritual slaughter are “less humane” than standard European practice because they ban the practice of stunning animals before they are killed.

However, there are disagreements over which form of slaughter causes the animal more pain, with some arguing that a stun gun can be more painful than an expertly applied cut to the animal’s neck.

Like kosher slaughter, the halal rite requires the butcher to kill the animal by swiftly slitting its throat. 

Source: AA