Why should you eat Halal meat even if you are a non-Muslim? Quite often we have a healthy conversation with our non-Muslim friends about the necessity of eating Halal meat. Interestingly enough, they agree with us on most of the issues we raise regarding this topic. But, why Halal meat is considered the best meat for consumers regardless of their religious orientations.
The simple answer is. It is healthier than non-Halal meat. Many consumers prefer eating Halal meat because it is free of pesticides, preservatives, and antibiotics.
Although, Muslims must consume Halal meat only, non-Muslims, on the other hand, choose the meat because of its health benefits and the humane treatment these animals get before being slaughtered the Halal way.
But, how? Let us try to dissect the topic thoroughly.
What Is Halal Meat?
Halal means permissible. In Islam, it refers to a broader concept of permissible acts. But in terms of the eatery, it is understood as food (specifically non-vegetarian) that is permissible in Islam.
According to Islamic law, meat is allowed to be eaten if the animal is slaughtered through a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery, and windpipe while God’s name is recited over it(called Tasmiyah or Shahadah).
Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood be drained from the carcass. Additionally, only those animals can be eaten which have been prescribed by Islam.
Halal Slaughtering Rules
- The slaughterer must be a sane adult Muslim
- A halal animal is always fed on vegetarian food and grass. Thus, such meat is rich in vitamins, omega-3 fat, and antioxidants which are healthy for the human body.
- The slaughterer must say the name of God before cutting the throat of the animal in question
- The name of God is said to emphasize the sanctity of life and that the animal is being killed for food with God’s consent
- Animals killed using non-halal methods might contain e-coli poisoning, bacteria and other harmful and filthy substances. The animal must be killed by cutting the throat with one continuous motion of a sharp knife.
- The cut must sever at least three of the trachea, esophagus, and the two blood vessels on either side of the throat.
- The spinal cord must not be cut
- Animals must be well treated before being slaughtered
- Animals must not see other animals being killed
- The knife must not be sharpened in the animal’s presence
- The knife blade must be free of blemishes that might tear the wound
- The animal must not be in an uncomfortable position while being slaughtered
- The animal must be allowed to bleed out and be completely dead before further processing
Non-Halal Ways of Animal Slaughtering
The other techniques of slaughtering animals are stunning (A debatable issue among Muslims), i.e killing it using electric shock, using some chemical gases, or striking an animal’s neck leading to a break away from the rest of the body also known as ‘jhatka”. This method is usually used by Sikhs.
Why Should You Eat Halal Even if You Are A Non-Muslim?
The Halal procedure, according to Dr. V K Modi, head of the meat technology department at the Central Food Technology Research Institute in Mysore, is effective in draining off most of the blood from a slaughtered animal, which is critical if you want the meat to be soft.
The possibilities of blood clotting are increased in jhatka. If the meat is left undercooked for a few days, it may deteriorate. It may also make the meat more difficult to chew.
Why Halal Meat Should be Your Choice?
- Halal slaughtering is less painful for animals. It is proved that the animals that are slaughtered using this method feel less pain.
- A Halal animal is always fed on vegetarian food and grass. Thus, such meat is rich in vitamins, omega-3 fat, and antioxidants which are healthy for the human body.
- Halal meat is not only healthy for your body but it is more pocket-friendly. You just have to pay for the meat only. The presence of blood will only add to its weight.
- As Halal meat lacks blood, thus, it tastes better than other meat. Blood contains lactic acid which can negatively affect the taste of meat.
- What we eat has an impact on our thoughts and brain, thus, eating halal food will not harm your brain. This food is free from bacteria and harmful substances that otherwise would have hampered your brain. Halal meat is free from antibiotics, growth hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives. All these things can adversely affect the human body and can make them ill.
- Animals killed using non-halal methods might contain e-coli poisoning, bacteria, and other harmful and filthy substances. The sacrifice of animals using the halal method doesn’t harm animal’s organs, thus, the organs also don’t contain any contaminated blood.
Evidence reveals that animals slaughtered by jhatka endure more trauma than those slaughtered in the Halal manner, according to Dr. Modi. He adds “The better the meat, the less an animal struggles.” The glycogen content in animals’ muscles is stimulated when they are injured, making the flesh stiffen.
The pH level in the animal after slaughter should ideally be around 5.4 for soft and juicy meat. As per Dr. Modi. Struggle causes the body to use stored energy, raising the pH level to as high as 7, an unhealthy level for human beings.
According to Dr. Karuna Chaturvedi, consultant nutritionist at Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi.
“Halal is considered healthier because, after slaughter, blood is drained from the animal’s arteries, ejecting most toxins because the heart continues to pump for a few seconds after slaughter. In jhatka, not all the blood is drained, leaving the meat tougher and drier,” She told TOI.
On the other hand, according to Carol O’Neil, a professor of nutrition and food sciences at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, no research supports this claim.
The United States Department of Agriculture, which is the authoritative source for nutritional food information, does not distinguish Halal meat (or kosher meat, for that matter) from other meats when calculating nutritional values. However, O’Neil points out that Halal methods may be more humane for the animals being slaughtered.
Despite the benefits that Halal meat possesses, one cannot be forced to have it at all times.
At the end of the day, you have to decide whether you want to consume Halal meat or not. However, you may want to keep in mind the points mentioned above while making the decision.
Originally published on www.indiatimes.com