Jewish and Muslim clerics continue to fight against the push to ban ritual slaughter (shechita for kosher meat and Zabiha for halal) by John Blackwell, incoming president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
Last week, Blackwell threatened government action if calls for the Jewish and Muslim communities to abandon their religious practices were left unheeded, citing concerns for "animal cruelty." The statements have sparked outrage from both communities.
Outrage over the threats continues to snowball Sunday, as several religious leaders fend off the allegations that ritual slaughter causes animals more pain than stunning. Dr Shuja Shafi, deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), expressed concern at the ignorance behind the allegations in a statement on Sunday.
“Zabiha is a humane method of slaughter where an animal’s welfare is at the core of one’s belief," Dr. Shafi declared. "Islam preserves the sanctity of both human and animal life."
“We do not accept Mr Blackwell’s comments as there are clear, precise methods of carrying out religious slaughter which takes due diligence so as not to cause suffering to an animal," he added.
Shafi's statements follow a joint article published in the Guardian Saturday defending halal and kosher slaughter, co-authored with Jonathan Arkush, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD).
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg provided political support for the defense of ritually slaughtered meat on Saturday night, warning that "no government of which I'm [he's] part" would follow Denmark's and Poland's footsteps in banning the practices.
"These are ancient beliefs handed down over generations," Clegg noted. "As a liberal, I believe in trying to protect that kind of diversity, not trying to quash it.”