The Facts

Allow Kosher & Halal Organic Meat Labels

It is nearly impossible in the United Kingdom to find kosher poultry or meat that is also organically certified. It is not because Judaism forbids organic meat. In fact, the majority of kosher animals are sourced from small family-owned farms. This is the only way to really ensure that the animals have not been abused or unduly confined, causing breakages to limbs or internal injuries that would render the animal unfit for Kosher consumption. It is not because the community refuses to pay a premium price for kosher and organic meat. The economics of the small scale Kosher abattoir already necessitates that our meat and poultry can be more than four times the cost of non-kosher cuts. Adding an organic component is a marginal expense.

The reason you will rarely taste a kosher organic burger is simple. According to the Soil Association-the organization which holds a near monopoly on organic certification in the UK-there will never be such a thing as KOSHER ORGANIC MEAT. In order to meet their standards for organic labelling, “all animals must be stunned prior to slaughter”. We, Jews, do not pre-stun our animals, but instead inflict death through a swift cut across the neck with an extremely sharp knife. The stunning method in the modern, conveyer-belt abattoir--though effective and swift in theory--has a failure rate that can be as high as 10% in practice. The kosher slaughter method is always completely effective and irreversible. More importantly, the stun gun, poison gas, or electric bath is operated by men who are measuring their kill quota for the day. Kosher slaughter is carried out by a trained shochet who is measuring his task before God.

We realize that the Soil Association is deeply wedded to their criterion for organic meat. We had hoped to reach a compromise with them and create a new ‘organically reared’ label specifically for non-stunned Kosher and Halal meat and poultry. The animals would be raised in the same organic farms, fed the same organic feed, and only differ at the point of death. We had hoped that the Soil Association would be eager to support and accredit this humane rearing of animals. Instead they have turned down repeated requests for dialogue on this issue. They have even threatened at least one of their organic farm suppliers with blacklisting should they sell to the Kosher abattoirs as well. We believe it is now time to act in unison with our Muslim colleagues in an open letter to the Soil Association, demanding that they respond to our simple request.

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Quran and Hadiths on Animal Welfare