Before I paste part of this article, I would like to add a comment of my own.
First of all, the issue in this article, and in most articles on this subject, is the issue of whether or not this food should be labeled as such. There is only one real reason why anyone would not want it labeled for the general public and that is they are afraid that people will stop buying it preferring food that was handled in accordance with Canadian standards of animal cruelty and cleanliness instead, and therefore make halal foods less available.
As to the arguments they actually use rather than what I wrote above, claiming that it is no more this or that and is just as good in this way than anything else etc. and not to want it is bigotry and hatred let me ask a few questions.
Does a Muslim or Jew have the right to see food stuffs containing pork or pig products labelled as such? I think very few would say no and that is even if these food products were shown to be safe, nutritious and in all ways legal. So you don’t need a rational reason, even if you have one, to legally chose what you want to eat.
Same with vegetarians. Hell some scholarly academic papers have shown that vegetarians have smaller brains as animal meat protein is necessary to maintain the full function of the human brain. (this explains a lot of the political left IMO) but they still have a right to choose not to eat meat even though it may actually be bad for them to do it.
Muslims obviously have the right to chose halal meats and products for their own reasons of superstition and manifest destiny (much of the money collected for the halal cert. is used to spread Islam, build mosques etc.) and so by that token and more, the rest of us have every right to refuse to buy it and certainly to eat it.
We simply are not a free country if we do not get the information we need to make choices for ourselves. Like England, this makes us a soft-totalitarian state. Being allowed to make our own choices, but tricked into making theirs.
Eeyore for Vlad
National post article at this link with thanks to Grace for the tip
Graeme Hamilton: Ignorance and intolerance drive halal food flap in Quebec
Graeme Hamilton Mar 16, 2012 – 12:28 AM ET | Last Updated: Mar 16, 2012 9:13 AM ET
John Kenney / Postmedia News files
Few issues inspire the three main parties in Quebec’s National Assembly to rise above partisanship and speak as one. But the urgent need to label halal meat, it appears, is one.
On Thursday, Liberal Premier Jean Charest joined the chorus begun a day earlier by the Parti Québécois calling for stricter labelling to ensure Quebecers do not unwittingly consume meat slaughtered according to Islamic rite.
“I say to those who process [meat] today, if they are halal animals, do yourself a favour as a producer and at the same time for the consumers, and say so on your products’ labelling,” he told reporters. “That way consumers will know exactly what they are buying.”
François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Quebec, insisted halal products need to be clearly labelled. “We are in Quebec and [halal slaughter] must be an exception,” he said. “It must not be the rule in Quebec. The consumer must be informed when there is halal meat.”
The sudden concern about animal slaughter practices was not prompted by any public-health scare or consumer outcry. Rather, the controversy began with an alarmist TV news report this week revealing that, for the past two years, a major Quebec poultry processing plant has been certified so that all its meat qualifies as halal, even if only a small percentage aimed at Muslim customers is labelled as such. “Does it bother you to buy halal meat without knowing it?” the program, hosted by former provincial politician Mario Dumont, asked. The front page of the tabloid Journal de Montréal had the screaming headline Thursday, “We are all eating halal.”
‘The controversy is the latest example of Quebec’s struggle to determine how far it should go to “reasonably accommodate” religious minorities’
The controversy is the latest example of Quebec’s struggle to determine how far it should go to “reasonably accommodate” religious minorities. Mr. Dumont is no stranger to the issue, having nearly gained power in 2007 as head of the Action Démocratique du Québec after campaigning to protect Quebec values.
On Wednesday, the separatist PQ, which leads in the latest opinion polls, complained that halal slaughter “collides head-on with Quebec values.” The party’s agriculture critic, André Simard, a veterinarian, said the ritual slaughter was less humane than standard industry practices.
Halal, which means lawful or permitted, involves slitting an animal’s neck with a sharp knife after it has been blessed with a Muslim prayer. It is similar to kosher slaughter in the Jewish faith, and CAQ immigration critic Benoît Charette on Thursday called it “incompatible with Quebec values” not to label kosher and halal products.
Olymel, which owns the Saint-Damase, Que., poultry plant at the centre of the controversy, said its killing methods are perfectly humane and approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Chickens are stunned with an electric shock before being bled, spokesman Richard Vigneault said. He said an imam visits the plant, which processes about 600,000 birds a week, twice a day to say the necessary prayers. “In no way has this certification changed anything in our method of slaughtering,” Mr. Vigneault said.
The complaints about halal invoke animal welfare (though factory-farmed, non-halal chickens hardly live pleasant lives) and a desire to extend secularism to the supermarket (though nobody’s concerned about the hot cross buns on sale for Easter).
‘It is the same kind of intolerance shown recently to immigrants who are not quick enough to learn French’
But what they really reveal is a suspicion and ignorance of minority religious practices. Mr. Vigneault said he has had to explain to some reporters this week that the company’s pork processing plants are not certified halal because Muslims do not eat pork.
Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, accused the PQ of “fanning the flames of intolerance, ignorance and division.” That may work as a short-term political strategy, but it is incredibly shortsighted for anyone concerned about the long-term future of Quebec.
There is a simple reason why demand for halal meat has increased recently in Quebec: The province’s Muslim population is growing rapidly. With its low birth rate, Quebec is dependent on immigrants to maintain its population. Lately it has targeted North African countries, where the population is largely Muslim, as a source of French-speaking immigrants. From 2006 to 2010, the North African region was the greatest source of immigration to Quebec, producing 21% of new arrivals.
But telling Muslims their dietary practices are inhumane and that public servants should not wear hijabs, as the PQ has done, is hardly going to make these immigrants want to put down roots.
It is the same kind of intolerance shown recently to immigrants who are not quick enough to learn French. A Montreal corner-store owner originally from Nigeria, Anthony Williams, was last week pilloried by radio host Benoît Dutrizac for the sin of not speaking French.
A producer for the show called up pretending to be a customer in need of a delivery, then she criticized Mr. Williams for not being able to reply in French. He responded with a tirade accusing the woman of drinking beer, smoking and collecting welfare while he worked hard to earn a living. Never mind that under Bill 101, Mr. Williams’ children must attend French school and will have no problem working in the official language. On Saturday an extremist language-defence group staged a protest outside Mr. Williams’ store.
The merchant told CBC this week that his daughter was driven to tears by the incident. He now hopes to move to Ontario, and with the latest halal hysteria, he may find the route crowded.
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