Quebec parties challenge halal meat laws

Published March 19, 2012

The opposition Parti Quebecois (PQ) has declared concerns about halal meat, which is slaughtered according to Islamic law. Photo: Dmitry Kalinovsky

In Canada, two political parties in Quebec are speaking out against the ritual slaughter of meat, saying the practice runs counter to the province’s secular "values."

The opposition Parti Quebecois (PQ) on March 14 declared concerns about halal meat, which is slaughtered according to Islamic law, Religion News Service reports. A PQ legislator said halal slaughter is an affront to animal rights and "slams directly against Quebecois values."

The pro-independence party said it is worried that mainstream companies are selling halal meat without proper labeling to unsuspecting consumers. It wants to know how many companies produce halal meat and how many animals are being slaughtered annually under Islamic rituals.

The PQ is demanding a report on the halal situation from the governing Quebec Liberal Party by March 23.

PQ legislator Andre Simard told reporters that both halal and kosher slaughter raise concerns over "sanitary risks" because they involve bleeding the animal after its death, which he said could lead to E. coli contamination. "If I had the choice at the counter, I would not buy it," Simard said.

A newer and smaller political party, the Coalition for Quebec’s Future, agreed, saying halal products must be clearly labeled. The current controversy arose after local media reports said a Quebec slaughterhouse was selling halal chicken to the public without proper labeling.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said it is confident the PQ does not seek to ban ritual slaughter in the province and that kosher slaughter does not offend Quebec values.

A similar controversy has erupted in France, where far-right National Front party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.


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