Following a report released by the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC), numerous Australian Muslims are expressing uncertainty about the religious compliance of the poultry they consume. The report has raised questions about whether the slaughtering process of chicken meat in Australia aligns with Islamic law.
Key Aspects of the Report
- The ANIC’s report has incited confusion among the Muslim community
- A halal certifier claims the report misses essential details about various stunning techniques
- The ANIC asserts it was only allowed to inspect one abattoir
The report from ANIC, which examined the method of controlled atmospheric stunning (where chickens are rendered unconscious using a gas mixture before slaughter), determined that this method is not suitable for halal consumption.
The conclusion was drawn because the majority of chickens appeared lifeless post-stunning and pre-slaughter, contradicting the Islamic requirement that animals must be alive and healthy when slaughtered.
Rosel Najem, a Muslim resident of Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales, is uncertain whether the poultry products she has previously consumed meet these requirements. Ms. Najem is unsure which information is trustworthy.
She expressed her concerns, stating, “If an organization like that declares meat previously classified as halal as now non-halal, it prompts you to question everything else if their trustworthiness is in doubt.”
Demand for a Comprehensive Report
The Islamic Coordinating Council of Victoria, the largest halal certification agency in the country, has called for more detailed reporting.
Bekim Hasani, the Council’s head of Shariah affairs, argued that the report should have elaborated on the various stunning methods employed by abattoirs.
Bekim Hasani in formal attire
Bekim Hasani argues the report lacks sufficient detail on stunning techniques. (Provided by: Islamic Coordinating Council of Victoria)
Dr. Hasani explained that most abattoirs implement the halal-certified technique of water bath stunning, which renders birds unconscious after immersion in an electrified water bath.
He further stated that many Muslims residing in Western countries like Australia are not familiar with the differences between water bath stunning and controlled atmospheric stunning.
According to Dr. Hasani, most abattoirs are halal-certified and do not use controlled atmospheric stunning, instead opting for water bath stunning.
In their statement, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils expressed concerns regarding the ANIC report, noting that it had only evaluated one location on a single day.
ANIC stated in a release that they were denied access to several abattoirs and could only inspect a single facility that permitted entry.
The report further mentioned that ANIC is in ongoing discussions with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about potential actions against alleged misrepresentation and incorrect labeling of halal products.
The ACCC confirmed some interactions with ANIC regarding allegations of false and misleading halal claims.
The ACCC advised individuals with concerns about the legitimacy of a halal-certified product to reach out to the corresponding certification body.
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