By: Angelica Montgomery CJAD
The minister of Agriculture for Partie Quebecoise wants to tighten up regulations for the production of halal and kosher meat.
“The problem is that we want the slaughter to happen in the most complete conditions of hygiene and cleanliness,” minister François Gendron said a month ago, adding that he intends to make an announcement this fall.
“We intend to impose a new framework on that question,” he said.
His press secretary, Maxime Couture, re-confirmed this week that the project is still in the works, though he could not say how soon it would be unveiled.
Couture said that while the province does not have the ability to ban the Halal and Kosher ritual slaughter of animals, it does have the power to impose tougher health and animal welfare regulations.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, or CFIA, oversees animal slaughter regulations nationally, so Quebec could only regulate meat that is produced within the province and not exported.
Dovid Russ, COO of major Canadian kosher meat operation Mehadrin, told the Jewish news website Bill613.com that new regulations would be unnecessary.
“The CFIA has one of the highest standards of food processing,” Russ said. “Quebec is trying to get more involved for absolutely no reason whatsoever.”
Quebec’s Halal Meat Association says it supports new standards in the hope that they could improve the public perception.
But, Mohamed Ghalem sees no actual need for them.
“For the past 15 centuries, the standards for the animals’ welfare have already been established,” he says.
“I think this misunderstanding is related to Islamophobia.”
A growing industry
Quebec only has the power to impose regulations on smaller slaughterhouses that do not export outside of the province.
The Agriculture ministry says it controls between 20 to 25 of these operations and at least five of them produce Halal meat.
“Halal slaughter is on the rise and its to the good fortune of Quebec and Canadian businesses,” says Ghalem.
“I’ve seen slaughterhouses that were on the brink of bankruptcy and did not close thanks to this niche market.”
This news has angered Muslim and Jewish Communities
This announcement has angered both the Muslim and Jewish communities of Partie Quebecoise, as they pointed out that it was very ironic that this PQ government is so concerned about the humane and cleaniness of Halal and Kosher slaughter houses when they should really focus on the existing slaughter houses which have been at the root of weekly meat recalls.
One Quebec resident said:
“The target of the laws are Jewish and Islamic slaughter houses. By saying that ‘we want the slaughter to happen in the most complete conditions of hygiene and cleanliness’, it presupposes that this is not the case, currently.
“Why does the minister want impose tougher health and animal welfare regulations on religious practices but not the rest of the industry?
“The minsister seems to bemoan the fact that the province does not have the ability to ban the Halal and Kosher ritual slaughter. This again, seems to be the case of the PQ targeting ethnic minorities by making assumptions about religous practices through ignorance.”
Another resident Karen posted on the news:
“Has anyone ever tried to actually KNOW what halal standards are? this is all based on ignorance and fear and islamophobia. I can guarantee you that Halal is the very most humane to slaughter and the most cleanest. please people inform yourselves…learn read research.. stop being lead blindly by people that only wish to benefit from your ignorance.”