Most non-vegetarian eating Hindus just throng to restaurants to have their favourite meat delicacies without caring whether the meat is Halal or Jhatka. Some are even so ignorant that they are not even aware about the difference between the two. On the other hand, Muslims are very much aware about the difference between the two and always eat Halal only. Muslims, if they eat in restaurants, insist on Halal meat only.
However, there is a growing awareness among Hindus about the difference between Jhatka and Halal, partly due to happenings in European nations where demands for ban on Halal meat are gaining ground, and partly due to the recent hypocritical stand taken by Zomato when dealing with Hindu and Muslim customers.
The Zomato controvery has not yet fully drowned and we have McDonalds and other restaurants issuing public statements that they serve Halal only. Conscious Hindus are demanding Jhatka meat from restaurants and this has invoked the old debate over Jhatka versus Halal.
Muslims and Halal proponents have succeeded in creating a false perception that Halal meat is healthier than Jhatka meat. Several meat-eating Hindus have fallen for this propaganda. The percentage of Halal meat is increasing not only in Bharat but across the world as countries succumbing to pressure from the Halal industry.
However, in reality, Halal is a big lie. It seems contradictory, but consider this: If there are places where automatic machines are used to slit throats of animals, it qualifies for Jhatka and not Halal. Inscribing Quranic verses on machine blades does not make the meat Halal.
Before we bust the myth of “Halal is healthier”, let us first know what is Halal and what is Jhatka. In simpler terms, Halal is Islamic way of slaughter and Jhatka is non-Islamic way of slaughter.
‘Halal’ is an Arabic word that translates as “permissible” into English; meaning that it adheres to Islamic law. As defined in the Quran, the animal must be alive and healthy, and be cut slowly through the jugular vein. Once cut, the animal is allowed to bleed out and die slowly. All the while a dedication, known as Tasmiya, is recited. So, Halal is ritual meat offered to Allah and Muslims are supposed to eat this only and reject anything that is not offered to any god other than Allah. This is precisely the reason why Muslims do not accept Prasad from Hindus.
On the other hand, Jhatka is a method of slaughter in which an animal is killed instantly with a single strike and there is no need to let the animal bleed slowly for some time before it dies.
Some of the myths associated with Halal meat are as below:
Myth 1: As blood is completely drained out in Halal, it is good for health. Blood clots in Jhatka are not good for health, specifically for heart.
Fact 1: The style of slaughter does not in any away alter the nutritional value of meat. Whatever is in it, it remains there, irrespective of the style of slaughter. It also is not true that blood is completely drained out in Halal. Halal or Jhatka, some blood would always remain in the flesh. So chances of infected blood entering the human body are same in both types of meat. And we know just a single drop of infected blood is enough to cause a disease. Moreover, no studies have been carried out to prove that people who eat Jhatka are at higher health risk as compared to Halal eaters.
While some people feel that Halal is healthier, experts do not concur. Carol O’Neil, professor of nutrition and food sciences at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, says that there simply aren’t studies showing that to be true. “It’s difficult to know if there are any kind of nutritional differences,” adds O’Neil. “There are certainly no studies done looking at people who consume Halal meat to see if their cholesterol levels are different or anything like that. We just don’t know.” So, we can safely conclude that Halal meat may have religious sanctity for some, but no additional nutritional value.
An interesting fact to ponder is that the medical community considers fish as the healthiest non-veg diet available for human consumption. And mind it, it is not Halal as not a single drop of blood is drained out of it.
Myth 2: In Halal, as the blood is drained out, the meat stays fresh for a longer time.
Fact 2: As water is life to plants, blood is life to flesh. You must have seen greengrocers watering vegetables to let them stay fresh for a longer time. Similarly, the blood in Jhatka, if it is only in it, would let the meat stay fresh for a longer time. However, as already mentioned, no meat is totally free from blood.
Myth 3: Some Hindus, who are used to eating Halal only, say that it tastes better than Jhatka. Few also complain that Jhatka smells.
Fact 3: Taste has nothing to do with Jhatka or Halal. It is just a matter of habit. People who are used to eating Halal find Jhatka tasteless, and people who are used to eating Jhatka only find Halal tasteless. As far as smell is concerned, it has more to do with gender. Female species of sheep, goat, etc. smell more as compared to male species.
Myth 4: Many vegetarians see no difference in Jhatka or Halal. They say that Killing is a sin, no matter in what style.
Fact 4: This debate is not over vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism. It is true that killing is killing and it is no one’s case that people should become non-vegetarians. However, it does matter as Jhatka is less painful and a much more humane way of slaughter as compared to Halal. And that is the reason why many animal rights activists have long called for a ban on Halal or Jewish shechita (Kosher) slaughter. Halal is similar to Kosher style and Muslims imitated the style from Jews. In the West, other painless methods of slaughter have evolved and it is time such practices are introduced in abattoir houses in Bharat too.
Halal is discriminatory as it excludes Hindus and other non-Muslims from the chain of employment in the meat trade.
If you are thinking that cutting slowly and reciting Islamic verses is all that is involved in Halal, you are wrong. According to Islamic injunction, Halal animal must be slaughter by a Muslim only. If not slaughtered by a Muslim, the meat would not be considered Halal. This condition makes it discriminatory as it blocks the entry of poor Hindus (mostly Dalits and OBCs) in the chain of employment.
Not only this, the restaurants that claim to serve only Halal are required to acquire Halal certification from Islamic bodies. The certification is not free and comes at a cost. Right from slaughtering to labelling of carcasses, supervision of logos, stamps, seals to inspection of storage places in restaurants – all this has to be done by Muslims only.
Halal industry today is a big industry and slowly it is spreading its reach in areas hitherto untouched by the meaningless Halal and Haram classification. So, we can say that while there are no reasons to support Halal, there are enough reasons like animal welfare, resisting cultural imposition, and fighting employment discrimination that stand in favour of Jhatka.