Denmark is banning halal and kosher slaughter of animals, because such killing requires that the animal be conscious when killed.
They want them to feel it, I guess.
And because some folks in Denmark thinks it’s unnecessarily cruel (cough, giraffe, cough cough, zoothanasia, cough), others folks are referring to their legislation as an interference with the practice of religious expression.
Perhaps the practice of religion is brutally interfering with the lives of millions of other creatures on this planet.
Then again, perhaps God really is that cruel and these forms of killing are delightful expressions of God’s desire to inflict as much pain as possible on God’s own creations (wouldn’t be the first time . . . Hello, flood!).
I know, I know . . . “If it’s done properly, with a really sharp knife, it does not inflict any pain and the animal dies quickly. Plus, the knife has to be checked after every kill so that it never gets dull blahblahblah…” Oh yes, sounds brilliant in theory. Terribly efficient and you get to feel like a saint because you can eat animals ‘humanely.’ “Happy meat,” right? Ah, a naive religious Sandor Katz. This song’s for you.
Non-kosher and non-halal slaughterhouses are just as bad. No doubt. And that’s the point. It has nothing to do with religion. It has nothing to do with Judaism, Islam, Christianity or your fireproof magic underwear (though, perhaps, in the case of the latter, it should). It has to do with refusing to treat other creatures as mere commodities to be exploited for whatever fairytale ends we devise for them.
I’m guessing that most of the responses to kosher killing, and its ban in Denmark, will certainly miss that subtle point.
In the meantime, Go Team Religion!
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.