David Cameron Won't Get Involved in Halal Furor


Credit: bisgovuk/Foter

Earlier today Jesse Walker noted the stupidity of the Daily Mail front page featuring a prominent headline reading, "Millions Are Eating Halal Food Without Knowing It." The Mail's article explains that some supermarket chains in the U.K. do not label meat that is halal. As Walker points out, the story doesn't have much at all to do with concerns about animal cruelty but has a lot to do with the fear "that that meat certified as halal carries some sort of Islamic cooties."

Thankfully, British Prime Minister David Cameron has decided not to get involved in the supposed controversy. A Cameron spokesman said that the prime minister believes that the issue of halal meat labelling is "an issue of consumer choice and consumer information," and that "it is a matter for retailers and restaurants to work with customers and consumer groups and representatives of faith organisations."

Good. Cameron may be a fan of unnecessary and paternalistic policies, but it's refreshing to see that he doesn't feel the need to get involved in this particular issue, which can be dealt with outside of government. The BBC notes that Cameron's spokesman added that the prime minister believes customers being demanding of retailers is "absolutely the right" approach.

The BBC goes on to mention that if those calling for halal meat to be labeled are concerned about animal cruelty, labelling will not be at all helpful:

Simply labelling food as halal is not the answer, said Robin Hargreaves, president of the British Veterinary Association, which campaigns for an end to non-stunned slaughter.

Mr Hargreaves told the BBC most halal meat had been stunned before slaughter, but added: "The problem is, if you just talk about labelling halal, it doesn't help you at all because you don't know which are stunned and which aren't."