<< Listen to the podcast >>

Woolworths mainstreams Islam

Woolworths will start selling a home brand Halal product in June through 20 stores in areas with a high Muslim population.

The brand is called Al-Sadiq, meaning truthful.

For the record, Halal means ‘permissible’ (‘Haram’, another word you should become familiar with, whether you want to or not, means ‘forbidden’).

Woolworths is chasing the market. According to the 2016 Australian census, the Muslim population increased 15 per cent from 2.2 per cent in 2012 to 2.6 per cent, or 604,000 people.

What is Halal meat?

The Islamic form of slaughtering animals or poultry, dhabiha, involves killing through a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe.

Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood is drained from the carcass. During the process, a Muslim will recite a dedication, know as tasmiya or shahada.

There is debate about elements of halal, such as whether stunning is allowed.

Stunning cannot be used to kill an animal.

Woolworths’ decision is just the beginning. In the UK, all slaughterhouses must he Halal compliant.

What the RSPCA says

This is what the RSPCA says about the Halal slaughter process:

The main animal welfare concern with halal slaughter is whether or not animals are rendered unconscious (stunned) before they are killed. Halal slaughter in overseas abattoirs often does not include pre-slaughter stunning – this is the key difference between Australia and many other countries.

The vast majority of halal slaughter in Australia (including at export abattoirs) complies with standard slaughter practice where all animals are stunned prior to slaughter. The only difference with halal slaughter is that a reversible stunning method is used, while conventional humane slaughter may use an irreversible stunning method.

The time to regain consciousness following a reversible stun may vary depending on the intensity of the stun. At Australian abattoirs, the aim is to ensure that reversible stunning is done in a way that the depth of unconsciousness is sufficient to allow for the animal to bleed out and die before there is a chance of regaining consciousness. Although reversible stunning is far better from an animal welfare perspective than no stunning at all, irreversible stunning is more effective in inducing unconsciousness than reversible stunning and is therefore the preferred method.

Animal welfare concerns

The RSPCA is concerned there are much greater risks of an animal suffering during slaughter without stunning than for conventional slaughter. Slaughtering an animal while fully conscious requires additional handling and restraint and means that the animal will experience pain associated with the throat cut and subsequent bleeding out. For these reasons, the RSPCA is strongly opposed to all forms of slaughter that do not involve prior stunning of the animal. Where the RSPCA is opposed to a practice we believe is cruel – but not illegal – we engage with the relevant industries and government with the ultimate aim to see an end to the practice.

It is tempting to post videos of the halal slaughter. If you wish to see them, they are readily available on YouTube.

The real issue is the cost

In 2015 the ABC Fact Check Unit (pause for laughter), investigated the cost of certifying halal meat.

Basically, it found the cost of certification was negligible (around $1000-2000 per year per business; for meat, it cost around $0.25 per carton of meat).

But …

According to the Australian Food and Grocery Council, there are around 14,000 food manufacturers in Australia.

This puts the potential value of the halal certification industry at $21 million a year for food manufacturers alone.

And it’s a closed shop.

Nice work if you can get it.

Kelly O’Dwyer’s resignation brings out the worst in the hateful left

… As well as the ABC … but we repeat ourselves.

Of all O’Dwyer’s roles, this was the least important one. It wasn’t the one that put her in Cabinet. So why make htis so prominent? To embarrass the Liberals. No other reason makes sense.

Surely it is right to expect more of the ABC.

But never expect better of Sally McManus, boss of the ACTU:

Some of her cohort went low. McManus is reported to have spent hours deleting this post. Doesn’t she know conservatives can screenshot?

McManus’s tweet is lazy. It shows a lack of strategic insight.

If you want to make the government squirm, play up O’Dwyer’s role in promoting women in the government. McManus’s knee-jerk reaction is a lost opportunity.

According to O’Dwyer, who has been in politics since 2007, she is leaving to spend more time with her young family.

Peter Costello, for the former Member for Higgins has been touted by the media -slowerlower members at least – as being a potential candidate.

This has been pooh-poohed by Troy Bramston.

Bugger.

Bill Shorten will teach your kids to swim

A few weeks ago the Breakdown highlighted that Dan Andrews’ strategy in Victoria was to be all things to all men (women, gender X … you get the idea).

And highlighted that Bill Shorten was doing the same thing.

Yesterday it went further. He’ll teach your kids to swim.

From the 2020 school year, Labor would fund extra swimming lessons for schools that need it, catch-up lessons for kids who require them, and more support towards the cost of transport and pool entry fees.

The program will also provide additional support to children with disabilities to ensure they can participate.

Mr Shorten has promised to work with schools, the states and territories, local councils, swim schools and lifesaving clubs to ensure the nationally consistent program is delivered.

“Swimming lessons aren’t just something parents should have to organise on weekends or during the holidays. It’s a critical part of growing up safe in Australia, so it should be part of the school term,” he said.

This is not good.

It’s very attractive for the government to assume these responsibilities, but it means they are encroaching more and more into your lives.

And one more thing …

Make the time to learn more about John Bogle. You’ll be glad you did.

Portfolio for the Common Man: John Bogle’s positive—but complex—legacy.