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From: <a href="http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/article/0,13005,901030623-458740,00.html" target="_blank">http://www.time.com/time/europe/maga...458740,00.html</a><br><br><br><br>
EUROPE<br><br>
A Stunning Debate<br><br>
A proposal to ban ritual slaughter in the U.K. forges an unlikely alliance of Muslims and Jews<br><br><br><br>
By AISHA LABI | BIRMINGHAM<br><br><br><br>
TIME europe: Culture Clash<br><br><br><br>
The lambs are wedged into a conveyer belt that carries them from the holding pen to the butcher. Some bleat insistently but most are quiet, bewildered. The machine stops for a moment and Mohammad Hussain, a Muslim cleric who sees to it that all slaughtering at Birmingham's Pak Mecca Meats abattoir is in keeping with religious law, strokes a lamb's head as he waits. The lamb's eyes close in contentment for a moment, until the conveyer whirs back into action. Hussain intones the Muslim blessing, and then with a single expert swipe nearly severs the animal's head.<br><br><br><br>
The scene repeated hundreds of times a day at slaughterhouses across the U.K. could soon be a thing of the past if the recommendation published last week by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (F.A.W.C.) that all animals be stunned before slaughter becomes law. Both Islam and Judaism forbid consuming animals' blood and require that livestock be conscious when killed so that the blood pumps out. Animals used for halal and kosher meat must be healthy and uninjured when slaughtered for consumption. Although animal-cruelty regulations throughout Europe say that livestock must be stunned before slaughter, Britain and most countries allow exemptions on religious grounds. Spain, for example, permits the religious slaughter of sheep and goats, but not beef. It's this loophole that the F.A.W.C., a government advisory body, wants to close.<br><br><br><br>
Muslim and Jewish leaders say the proposal smacks of cultural bias, and the shared threat has forged an unlikely alliance between them. At London's Central Mosque last week, some sat down together to plan their response. The Reverend Alan Greenblatt, representing Britain's Chief Rabbi, spoke for everyone when he said, "To use an appropriate metaphor, I'm stunned to find myself up here at all today."<br><br><br><br>
Most Jews and Muslims are confident that the government will reject the proposal in deference to cultural sensitivities, as it has done in the past, but the symbolism of the attempt still makes many uneasy. "One can't help remembering that in the 1930s [restricting kosher slaughter] was one of Hitler's first laws, when he wanted to bring the Jewish way of life to a halt," says Michael Kester, head of the National Council of Shechita Boards, which oversees Jewish ritual slaughter.<br><br><br><br>
It's a pity that this is what draws the communities together, saying 'We want to kill animals like we've always done' RABBI DAN COHN-SHERBOK\t\t<br><br><br><br>
Muslims, many of whom feel that the war on terror has prompted unfair scrutiny of their way of life, also question the F.A.W.C. motives. "It's most disturbing," says Aziz Pasha, head of the Union of Muslim Organizations. "Why are we going through this again?" F.A.W.C. chair Judy MacArthur Clark rejects any claim of bias, saying such allegations are "just mischief-making. We're looking at the issue purely from an animal-welfare aspect." She also stresses that the report the F.A.W.C.'s second in 17 years to call for an end to slaughter without stunning has been in the works for four years.<br><br><br><br>
Similar exchanges took place in Switzerland last year, when the government proposed lifting its 19th century prohibition on ritual slaughter. Animal-welfare groups opposed the move and got so much public support that the government backed down. Thomas Lyssy, vice-president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, concedes that some opponents were motivated by genuine concern for animals. But he says, "part of it was motivated by anti-Semitism, that's for sure. We had threatening letters."<br><br><br><br>
The F.A.W.C. has a surprising ally in Reform rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok, a professor of Judaism at the University of Wales. He argues that Jews can live perfectly religious lives without meat, as he has done for the past decade. There's no doubt, he says, that Shechita "was the most humane form of slaughter" when it developed over a millennium ago, but it is no longer in keeping with "high ethical principle." He knows that his stance will alienate many. "I'm breaking ranks," he admits. But compassion for animals, he says, is the overriding principle that should guide contemporary Jews. Cohn-Sherbok is also saddened that it is solidarity over slaughter that is uniting Jews and Muslims. "It's a pity that this is what draws the communities together, saying 'We want to kill animals like we've always done'."<br><br><br><br>
The perception that their traditions are being threatened for what many see as spurious reasons taps into what, for Muslims and Jews alike, are deep reserves of suspicion. And though most critics of ritual slaughter are driven by concern for animals, there are those who would curtail Jewish and Muslim traditional practices out of bias. Until both communities feel fully at ease following their faith in Europe, it will continue to be difficult for them to distinguish one from the other.
 

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You know, I don't agree with the halal and kosher method of slaughter. But to be honest, I think that it's not as bad as how chickens are slaughtered.<br><br><br><br>
But the muslims and jews can easily eat vegetarian foods anyay. i don't see what all the fuss is about.
 
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