lundi, 24 septembre 2018
 

The French Halal Industry : Current State and Future Hopes

"The French Halal Industry : Current State and Future Hopes" is the contribution of ASIDCOM to GIFR/March 2013 ( the Global Islamic Finance Report)

It was submitted and approved on December 2012

ASIDCOM publishes it, on its website, 6 years later and hopes evryone can make his own opinion about that has been done since the end of 2012

Introduction

The Halal ecosystem cuts across many industries, ranging from Halal food and non-food products to Halal-related services including Islamic banking and finance, certification, logistics, tourism and health care. The value of this Halal market is estimated at USD 2.1 trillion and is fast gaining attention worldwide as the next world market force [1]. The recent world population of 2.1 billion Muslims (which is far greater than earlier estimates) have a faith that shapes their Islamic way of life including their food consumption choices [2]. To assure Muslim consumers have access to Halal food produced with integrity has always been an obligation of the Islamic authorities who monitor the authenticity of Halal products in the market. The European Muslims are a social minority in their countries. Therefore, they are often not properly represented by government recognized Islamic authorities and are victims of discrimination or attacks with respect to their Halal food needs.

Therefore, it is interesting to study in more detail the current state of the French Halal industry as both unique and as a potential model for Europe to define its future hopes. The chapter will be broken down into two main sections : the current state of the French and European halal industries and then the future hopes of the industry. In the first section, firstly, the European Halal regulations will be presented from an historic perspective. Then the state of the Halal market within the Halal meat industry will be explained. Finally, the Halal guarantees will be explored. In the second section, the Halal market stakeholders, their relationships and the role of the Muslim stakeholders will be presented. The need of local Halal meat solution will be summarized, and finally, the international organization involved in the Halal market will be explored.

  1. The French Halal Industry : Current State
  • The European regulation

The history of the Halal market is strongly related to the history of slaughter methods in Europe and French. The first captive bolt, a device that cracks the skull of an animal to render it unconscious, was invented in 1928 by Jean Duchenet and Karl Schermer. Both of the creators spoke about the efficiency of their invention to protect abattoir employees and to enhance the production rate. In 1930 the captive bolt was introduced in France. The mayor of Lyon argued that his choice of the captive bolt for his municipal abattoirs was also for animal welfare reasons. But this was absolutely a personal judgment of the Mayor even while some animal welfare groups welcomed his declaration [3]. Under pressure from the animal welfare’s lobby, stunning became required for regular slaughter in France in 1964. Unfortunately, this decision has had a negative impact on religious slaughter.
In fact, until 1964 religious slaughter, i.e., unstunned slaughter using a razor sharp knife to cut the animal at the throat severing the carotid arteries, the jugular veins, the esophagus and the trachea, but not cutting the vertebral bones and the nerves therein, had not been challenged because of the new slaughter methods. But it should be noted that the authorization for religious slaughter has not always been allowed in France ; religious slaughter without stunning was unfortunately prohibited in France and some other European countries in the period from 1940 to 1944 while under the occupation of Nazi Germany.

Since 1964, the French and European legal corpus has evolved under pressure from the animal activist lobby that thrives on using cultural prejudices, i.e., Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, to drive their animal welfare agenda and to misuse objective scientific data (see Regenstein, 2011 and Regenstein, 2012 for the documentation of the misuse of the scientific data) [4]. Thus religious slaughter has been authorized in France only as an exemption from the obligation of prior stunning although proper scientific evaluations of good religious slaughter are not available.

At the European level, the 1979 European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter, and the Council Directive 93/119/EC of 22 December 1993 on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Slaughter or Killing reduced the right of practicing religious slaughter of animals to an exemption. According to the former law, each Contracting Party (country) may authorize derogations from the provisions concerning prior stunning in the case of slaughtering in accordance with religious traditions. The latter stipulated that the requirement of stunning might not apply, in the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter required by certain religious practices.
The Council Regulation (EC) no. 1999/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing, which abrogated the above-mentioned Directive, maintain this right as an exemption, but give to states the possibility to impose more restriction regarding their internal organization of the religious slaughter of animals.
The French government during the recent electoral cycle (2012) pandered to certain electoral lobbies such as the animal activists and the Islamophobic extreme right to politicize Halal food issues [5]. Based on the new EU Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals during slaughter operations, a set of regulations was published in France [Decree and Order of December 28, 2011] [6]] on the right to religiously slaughter animals. The Order of August 22, 2012 presents the obligations for the training of slaughter men. This is an important step to actually enhance animal welfare conditions for all animals, but requires the government to recognize the unique aspects of Islamic slaughter and to work with the Muslim community to collectively improve religious slaughter of animals. Unfortunately the Islamic communities of Europe remain skeptical of the intentions of their respective governments. On the other hand, the Muslim community recognizes the importance of working with the government to improve the religious slaughter of animals is done properly consistent with religious requirements.

  • The Halal market as a market of clearance for the meat industry

In Bordeaux, in the south of France, the number of Halal butchers had increased from one in 1975 to 12 in 1996, then to 24 in 2000 . Indeed, the Halal market has represented a clearance market for the French meat industry.

Low prices for Halal meat are explained by the small margins. These are offset by the quantities sold. But they are also offset by savings on the purchase of live animals. Supply chains are provided by Halal for animals whose physical characteristics exclude them from standard marketing channels. [This sentence is meant to imply that animals of lower quality than would be acceptable in the normal French market find their way into the Halal market. These animals still are required to and do pass the national meat inspection system]

Two groups of animals are introduced into the supply chain to produce "Halal" meat : Old animals especially sheep, past their usefulness and animals from non-compliant market standards for cattle.

In the region of Gironde, these animals are always reserved for the "Allah" market, the sheep are known as “couscous sheep”. These animals are called animals of reform when they can no longer perform the tasks for which they were being used ; either they are too old or weak to produce milk or give birth, or that have developed other defects related to malnutrition or parasitic diseases that prevent them from breastfeeding or providing milk for human use. The name “couscous sheep” indicates recipients for whom they are reserved but also that they are deemed to provide a tough meat that only slow broth cooking manages to soften. These sheep have a reduced or no market value in the ordinary meat sector.

 [7] [translated by Hanen Rezgui]

Thus Halal supply chains are supplied by the ordinary commercial supply chains and do not constitute a specific sector. The "Quality" or the age of animals passing through these markets depends on the secular meat industry. This probably has an impact on the choice of animals available to Muslim butchers. We will see later the drastic consequences of this policy of “the Halal market being a clearance market” on the Muslim consumers’ rights and their religious slaughter of animals.

  • The current challenge of guaranteeing Halal

It should be noted that before the 1970’s there was no Halal market and the Halal butchers in France could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Generally Muslim consumers in France and Europe used local solutions to accomplish their meat needs, i.e., they often arranged their own animal slaughters. But, since the early 70’s many non-Halal butchers closed their door and new Halal shops emerged. It is in this context that the rector of the Paris Mosque initiated for the first time in France signed Halal certificates (in 1982). Unfortunately the certificates were not seriously monitored because the Mosque of Paris was not controlling their issuance, and this situation continues to this day.
Furthermore, the signed Halal certificates were often forged with impunity by the butchers themselves. In fact no regulations or organized structures have emerged to regulate this new market. Most consumers, unfortunately, did not have any doubts about the authenticity of the supervision of Halal meat. Muslim consumers had confidence in the stakeholders providing Halal products. They were not, with a few exceptions, aware of the stunning issue (i.e., that a large number of so-called Halal slaughtered animals had been pre-stunned prior to slaughter, which was inconsistent with the Prophetic method of animal slaughter) and the political-economic challenges facing religious slaughter in Europe.

This unsatisfactory situation remained until the beginning of the 2000’s. During this period some notable major events occurred that have led to the current situation :
a- Multiplication of Halal Control Bodies (HCB) :

Most of these bodies have followed the example of the earliest HCB such as the Paris Mosque in France, and the Halal Authority in the UK. In 2008 and 2009, the Association of Awareness, Information and Defense of Muslim Consumers, ASIDCOM conducted for the first time a survey of the activities of these HCB. The survey (available on-line at the ASIDCOM site) [8] pointed out several difficulties and problems with respect to the efficacy with which they performed their supposed role in the marketplace. In fact, they present themselves as a guarantee that the products met Halal criteria. But almost of them could not provide an established set of Halal standards that would inform consumer about their specific Halal specifications.

Several attempts have been made to produce common Halal standards for many European countries and at the European level. These include a formal definition of Halal developed by Dr. Hamidullah that was ratified in 1982 by 60 French Muslim associations. More recently, following the recent creation of the CFCM (Muslim Council of France) in 2003 by the French government, a commission was created to establish standards for Halal meat. But faced with the many different financial interests of the various stakeholders, the commission failed to establish a common specification, agreeing for now only on the spelling of the word "Halal". In the UK, after several attempts by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to establish national Halal standards, no such standard has emerged although two national certification organizations certify halal meat. Both the Halal Food Authority (HFC) and Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) certify meats, with only the later requiring solely unstunned slaughter.
On a European level, the Austrian proposal for standards and the two years of work on the feasibility of a European Halal standard have failed to lead to an agreement on standards for the religious slaughter of animals. Muslim consumers and organizations like CFCM (France), the MBC (UK) and ASIDCOM oppose any use of stunning within a European Halal standard, while industrial participants and animal welfare organizations oppose the Muslim consumers requirements regarding the stunning issue. In fact, they will only support Halal standards that include the use of stunning with or without labeling of the slaughter methods. But the Muslim stakeholders have no assurance in the current European context that such standards will not be used against their right to religious slaughter without stunning.

b- New regulation and restriction against the religious slaughter of animals :

In recent years, with the rise in the interest in animal welfare, religious slaughter of animals has become a concern in many Western countries where the secular methods of slaughter are presumed to be more humane, especially when poorly done research is used to prove that hypothesis [9].

In France, for example, as previously mentioned, the issue of the religious slaughter of animals has been included in the 2012 presidential election politics. The enforcement of the 2011 decree requires additional requirements for religious slaughter and some restrictions on how many animals can be slaughtered religiously. Two official reports, in 2005 and 2011, have been written to justify this populist change in the regulations. We can read in one of the earliest commentaries [10] :

«  In France, 80% of sheep, 20% of cattle and 20% of poultry are slaughtered by the Halal method. This tendency to generalize the religious slaughter, especially for sheep, is also evident among our European neighbors. In Denmark, 90% of sheep meat is obtained from Halal slaughter as well as 3 to 4% of cattle meat and almost all poultry. Overall, 20% of the total number of animals is religiously slaughtered including 100% of sheep and goats and 15% of cattle. » Then the report continues :

« In Britain, highlighting the pre-stunning of Halal slaughter by Farm Animal Welfare Council, a quasi-governmental organization (FAWC) has led to the exact opposite effect from what the organization was promoting, since the rate of pre-stunned animals has decreased from 92 to 50%. »


Thus, the authors of this document support the idea of extensive use of religious slaughter of animals by confounding “the slaughter method used within the marketing of Halal meat” and “religious slaughter”. They consider that all the meat labeled as “Halal” is obtained by “religious slaughter” of animals without any kind of stunning. But it is relevant to specify that such meat is often obtained from conventional slaughter, such as mechanical slaughter, or a religious slaughter with prior or post-cut stunning [11] [12]. The religious slaughter as required by the Muslim consumers and their religious represents must be without any kind of stunning before or after the cut [13] [14].

The authors of such reports have tried to convince non-Muslim consumers that they are being deceived because they are unknowingly consuming Halal meat, while it is the Muslim consumer that is actually being deceived. We quote below the authors :

« Producers of sheep and cattle have an economic interest in organizing a strong complementarity between the traditional distribution channels and Halal from animals ritually slaughtered. In fact, back pieces (of the animal) are opportunities for non-Muslim consumers while front pieces and offal are directed mainly to Muslim consumers. »

 [15]

Such statements have been rejected by Muslim butchers. They confirm that they buy the entire carcass and that the amount of offal purchased, if they choose to sell it, cannot in any case be greater than the number of carcasses [16]. But it should be noted that the multiplication of the number of Muslim butchers has created strong competition between them. Thus, some of them choose products of very low quality in order to offer more attractive prices. The behavior of these butchers helps create the view that the Halal market is a clearance market. When properly informed of these actualities, the Muslim consumer is surprised and will often actively reject supporting such actions.

But for several reasons European country authorities have used such misleading reports and facts to justify inappropriate new regulations. These regulations have imposed more and more restrictions on the practice of religious slaughter of animals in Europe. However, religious slaughter of animals without stunning is still allowed in the majority of the European countries, and it will depend on the strong support of the Muslim communities to assure that the Islamic method of animal slaughter will be permitted to be practice by the community. Similar issues are also arising in Australasia :

« The current situation : New Zealand and Australia have for many years required an intervention prior to religious slaughter for meat destined for export. In Australia, the Jewish community is permitted to slaughter, but is doing a post-slaughter intervention for cattle. In New Zealand, the local Jewish community was permitted to slaughter. After rejecting the advice of his animal welfare committee the agricultural minister banned domestic religious slaughter. It turned out that he had a financial interest in a Halal slaughterhouse and worried that the Muslim export community would also ask for this right ! After various legal maneuvers, the situation is that the Jewish community is permitted to slaughter as it always has, but on paper kosher slaughter of animals is prohibited. The next step in the legal process is up to the government and there appears to be no interest in moving any legal action forward. »

 [17]

  1. The French Halal Industry : Future Hopes
  • The Halal market stakeholders

There are five categories of stakeholders in the French Halal market : the public sector, religious representatives, Halal control bodies, commercial operators, and consumer (Muslim and non-Muslim) and animal welfare organizations.
The public sector :

The public sector has key roles in the future hopes for the French Halal industry. They have a mission at each stage of the Halal supply chain from the production to the final consumption, i.e., First, their agents supervise, control and accompany actors, animals, products and services of the Halal branch. They have the obligation to make respectful regulations and to enforce the rights of all parties. Second, they need to collaborate with Halal stakeholders to better develop the market with respect to the actual needs of consumers and their respective economic interests. They should also collaborate with, the religious representative institute, the consumer and professional organizations to enable them to protect and ensure their member rights.
Religious representatives :

The representation of the Muslim communities in Muslim minority European countries has not yet been resolved. Each European country has its own model for Muslim representation, although none has formal recognition. Even in France, where the French government had urged the creation of CFCM, in 2003, the latter is an NGO (under association law 1901) without specific government recognition. Thus, a government can arbitrarily choose some or any organizations to discuss Muslim issues. But the choice tends to be based on political considerations. Yet, the chosen organizations are often not representative of their communities. For example, in France at least 50% of the Muslim communities say they do not know about CFCM [18].

Halal operators :

The Halal manufacturing sector covers the food industry and several non-food production channels. This sector also includes several other services that meet present Islamic needs. These Halal operators can be Muslims or non-Muslims. Generally most participants have not received any specific training on the specific requirements of the Halal laws and Islamic trade principals to help them do their work properly. There are several topic of training that need to be satisfied : the butcher job, hygiene and health standards, halal control, job of Muslim slaughter men, religious knowledge (trade rule in Islam "Al-Mouamalat”), form of Islamic solidarity between the halal market stakeholders, the standards of halal, the animal welfare, training to learn about public or private organizations and economic aid available for these economic stakeholders. A step in this direction is also closely linked to the Islamic spirit regarding the obligation to be formed first before exercising any business line :

- Omar Ben Alkhattab (2nd Khalifa), may Allah be pleased of him, banned working in the Medina Souk traders who have not previously received training on Islamic rules of trade (Mouamalat).

- Omar ben Al-Khattab has also appointed inspectors, such as Achifa bent Abdellah (Director of the Souk) to curb fraud and deception on the merchandise. He accompanied himself children, orphans or whose fathers were absent during their commissions in the market to ensure they are not harmed by the merchants.
Similarly, audit work and upgrading halal plans and commercial point are required. This work can be subcontracted by the audit bodies competent in the matter. In France, funding for this work is supported by the training tax. Indeed this last is intended to finance the development of the first technological and vocational training. It is caused mainly by companies with employees and engaged in commercial, industrial or craft.
Halal Control Bodies :
The traceability and confirmation of the Halal status of products found on retail shelves is almost always complex. The use of a Halal logo on food packages has proven to be a useful marketing tool. The value of such a logo has prompted more and more food manufacturers to apply for Halal certifications. But, in its survey work, ASIDCOM has described these Halal control bodies as :

«  Organizations, which are in the form of associations or societies. They do not have a common definition of "Halal" nor agreed upon control procedures and traceability. Unfortunately a single standard, despite efforts to put such together, has not occurred and is unlikely in the near future. Note that the controls implemented by individual agencies are all very different : it can go from an annual audit of the slaughterhouse or an occasional analysis for porcine materials at the certified establishment, to checking each production with permanent controls in place and on-going independent auditing of the company that manufactures the Halal product. As discussed later in this investigation, these differences lead to very different human resources being employed with some organizations just having a secretariat to manage the "paperwork" of the “Halal certification” to others having real controls in place with trained controllers in the field. »

 [19]

Consumers (Muslim and non-Muslim) and animal welfare organizations (AWO) :

First, it is important to stress that in Europe both consumer (whether Muslim or not) and AWO are concerned about animal welfare. Thus, the various attacks on religious slaughter are not seen as an animal welfare issue by the Muslim community, which strongly believes that religious slaughter of animals is humane. Those bad practices found in some slaughterhouses are not related to the Prophetic method of humane religious slaughter of animals. These are issues that must be addressed by the Muslim community in conjunction with the genuine animal welfare community.

Currently, in Europe non-Muslim consumer organizations are much more developed than those of the Muslim consumers. In the majority of cases the sole representative of Muslim consumers has been those organizations directly tied to religious worship. But in the last 6 years we have been witnessing the mobilization of Muslim consumers by different consumer groups whose goals are to educate and inform them on issues in the Halal marketplace. In 2006, ASIDCOM was created for the defense of Muslim consumers in France. ASIDCOM is a citizen’s organization established to protect their rights, make known their true needs and to gain recognition of these rights and needs by various institutions and stakeholders within the economic and political spheres within France.

But to make the Muslim consumers’ voices heard we need to establish a European-wide network of Muslim consumer organization like ASIDCOM. 

  • Role of Muslim stakeholders in the Halal market

The ASIDCOM survey in March 2012 showed that Muslim consumers in France are committed to their religious obligation of consuming only Halal food. But they are often unaware of how their animals or poultry were slaughtered and whether the slaughter act complies with the religious requirements or not. They assumed that the method of slaughtering animals is a traditional Halal slaughter with no pre- or post-slaughter interventions with full compliance with modern animal welfare. However, the survey indicated that only 5% of the meat sold to Muslims is obtained from slaughter without stunning. The survey identified various efforts by Muslim consumer groups to disseminate information and educate consumers. This has led to changes, particularly in consumer behavior, attitudes and concerns among Muslims about the foods they consume. They have become better informed and more cautious in their selection of food. About 56% of the respondents abstained from purchasing doubtful products. If Muslim consumers are faced with a lack of reliable information with respect to the Halal status of products, 87% indicated that they were willing to pay more for a Halal product produced with integrity. Consumers attribute primary responsibility for the deception that occurs with some Halal products to the certification agencies, to the state, to Muslim butchers and to themselves. This has led to their commitment to contribute to the reform of the Halal market and reduce the fraudulent cases to a minimum. But the reconciliation process between demand and the available supply is very complex in France and the rest of Europe. Many of the policies of the government and of the major stakeholders in the marketplace are contrary to the development of religious slaughter practices that actually meet the needs and demands of the Muslim consumers.

For this market to reach its full potential, the stakeholders in the Muslim Halal market need to learn to work together. For many Muslim consumers, the best Halal guarantee in Europe is provided by the Muslim butcher [20]. However these butchers have not always exercised their right to require Halal compliant products. About 23 butchers surveyed by ASIDCOM said they would welcome the establishment of a Halal butchers’ organization. Yet, almost all of them have not had any training with respect to what is required of a Halal butcher.

It is urgent that all of the Muslim stakeholders be properly trained. In March 2011, Kuwait organized a workshop whose goal was to create a Global Halal Fund for Halal Development and Research. If this goal can be accomplished, Muslims around the world, including in Europe, will benefit.

  • Need for solutions at the local level

If someone looks at the map of the Halal abattoirs in France and Europe, he will note that their concentration is very heterogeneous. Also, the map of the distribution of Muslims varies greatly between different European countries and where within each country they are found. The map of Halal shops, especially butchers, is a reflection of where Muslims live. Many of these shops have significant numbers of non-Muslim consumers.

Until now governments have been very comfortable with these butcher shops because of several specific constraints :
-  The closest abattoirs refuse to practice the Prophetic method of religious slaughter of animals. In this case Muslim butchers’ must either accept these products often without informing the Muslim consumer on the issue. The alternative has been to seek suppliers elsewhere, but this is more complicated and makes it more difficult for butchers to visit these abattoirs and assure themselves that the slaughter is being done properly.

-  In some countries, like France, the Halal market has become a clearance market for the meat industry. Thus Halal butchers have been restricted by their suppliers to a narrow choice of marginal quality products. The complicity of some Muslim butchers and the price factor have been crucial in perpetuating this state, where the needs of the Muslim consumers for religiously acceptable products of reasonable quality has been thwarted. Having only low quality cheap products has led to several butcher shops closing their doors.

-  Each Muslim butcher shop works alone. There is no organization working for and with them to improve the Halal market.


-  The municipal abattoirs are closing their door and leaving this formerly public service function to private companies, who are not prepared to collaborate with the religious communities so as to avoid pressure from the animal welfare lobby or extreme right-wing groups.

-  The Muslim consumers have not been involved the Halal market. ASIDCOM remains a unique independent Muslim consumer association. Thus, a stronger local organization of the Halal meat production supply chain seems to be an efficient solution. This needs to involve Muslim consumers and butchers along with the local authorities, the representatives of the religious community and the local abattoirs. The abattoirs may or may not be solely Halal, although an all Halal operation simplifies control. They could be of various sizes depending on the local demand. The local authorities have the duty to ensure that in collaboration with the Muslim religious leadership the facilities meet animal welfare standards and the religious requirements and that people working in these facilities are properly trained. But in the end the Muslim consumers have the duty to work with their local Muslim consumers associations to assure themselves that the products they are purchasing genuinely meet their needs.

The association ASIDCOM is preparing a number of recommendations within the report of its last survey on the halal butcheries in the north of France. It recommends the halal to be an independent sector from the conventional meat sector. All the stages of the production are concerned for animal and vegetable products. With respect to the animal, the association will propose basic standards (the MCB ones), so that the different stakeholders, could use them to establish a common halal standards for industrial use. Also, the association will suggest that each stage of the halal sector should be represented by an organization (association). Then all the stages should be represented together by an unique halal organization.

  • International organizations and solutions

    Several countries both with Muslim majorities or minorities have established their own halal standards and control models. Since 1963, Malaysia has been monitoring halal products, but it was only in 1971 that an official letter to confirm a product’s halal status was first issued by the Malaysian Islamic Authority. Then in 1975, a law to protect the use of the word “Halal” was incorporated into the Trade Description Act of 1972. Halal certification was introduced by JAKIM (the Department of Religious Development of Malaysia) in 1994. The Malaysian Halal standards document (MS1500:2000) was developed in 2000 and has been revised two times and supplemented with new standards. Since January 2012, certification of food products by a JAKIM accredited control body is required for products sold in Malaysia. Before this date Halal certification was voluntary in Malaysia [21]. Also, in certain other countries of ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations) like Indonesia, there is a halal certification body accreditation similar to that of Malaysia. The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Standardization Organization (GSO) in 2008 adopted the GCC Halal standard. The standard was developed by the Technical Committee for the Foods and Agriculture Products Section of Kuwait and is entitled “Halal Food, Part (2) : The Requirements for Accreditation of Issuing Halal Certification Centers.” [22].

New Zealand has taken the bold step of regulating Halal certification under their newly announced Halal Notice, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal Food Safety Authority. The Austrian national standards’ body, ASI, submitted its new halal standards to CEN (the European Committee for Standardization). This proposal has led to two year European study about the feasibility of an European Halal Standard. In 2012, the study was published. There was no clear conclusion with respect to the feasibility of a Halal standard at a European level. Currently, the project is awaiting a CEN member to propose and lead a further European Halal project study. Turkey seems to be the favorite candidate because it is a majority Muslim country.

In the attempts above to provide compliant Halal standards, the Muslim consumers’ needs have not been carefully studied. In the majority of cases only a few religious opinions have been included. Muslim consumers have not been properly involved and informed. The author has worked closely with the actual Muslim consumers for more than 5 years in countries such as France, Tunisia, Kuwait, Malaysia, England and Holland about the stunning issue. Almost all of the consumers assumed that the method of slaughtering animals is a traditional slaughter with no pre- or post-slaughter interventions, while fully compliant with modern animal welfare requirements. Thus, it is urgent that all those who work on either a European or international Halal harmonization standard start to seriously involve Muslim consumers. They need to be a partner and key Halal stakeholders in defining the Halal standards.

Conclusion

In June 2012, the French government agency for international business development Ubifrance said that the global Halal market is estimated at 448 billion euros, and it is increasing at about 10% per year. Also, Xerfi, the private economic research institute, said in a new study that there will be a 9% increase in sales of products for Muslims in the retail stores for the year 2013 [23]. But the lack of trust in Halal certification remains the main weakness for those promoting this sector of the international food-industry. In fact, the current organization of Halal control has not won over the Muslim consumers. They still prefer to buy their Halal products at a Muslim Halal shop or butcher, although, they may be selling the same products as the larger retail stores. More than the half of the Muslim consumers interviewed would not buy a halal product if he has doubts about the Halal certification.

The Muslim consumers’ organizations have in recent years worked to inform and make consumers aware of the challenges facing them in purchasing authentic Halal products. But the major difficulty they have faced was the absence of reliable and available alternatives for consumers or traders who would like to respect the traditional Prophetic standards with respect to Halal products. In fact in many places in Europe, Halal meat prepared without any stunning is simply not available from either a Muslim or non-Muslim owned shop, especially for poultry meat.

With all of the several attempts to harmonize Halal in a few European countries permission to stun has been maintained in these Halal standards despite the fact that for consumers, these standards create an unacceptable situation. Thus, it is essential that religious slaughter of animals be seriously monitored to prepare for a more robust future for the Halal industry in Europe. The entire Halal sector is concerned with the religious slaughter of animals issue. This is for Muslim consumers a key criterion in their acceptance of any Halal meat product. In the current European context, Muslim stakeholders must work together at the local level to strengthen the Halal infrastructure. In fact, public authorities and religious representatives have to work together more seriously to better serve the food needs of local Muslim citizens. So far, both have failed to properly address these questions at the national or European levels because the task is much more complicated. But if everyone works locally to meet consumers’ needs, then the European Halal industry will thrive and enter a new era of prosperity.


[1] Dr. Hani M. Al-Mazeedi, Dr. Sharifudin Md. Shaarani, “Characterization of Global Halal Services Providers (GHSP)”, School of Food Science and Nutrition, UMS [University of Malaysia in Sabah], 2012

[2] Population Data – CIA [Center Intelligence Agency] World Fact Book. 2009. http://www.muslimpopulation.com/ind...

[3] Jean-Christophe Vincent , « La mise à mort des animaux de boucherie : un révélateur des sensibilités à l’égard des bêtes à l’époque contemporaine », Cahiers d’histoire [En ligne], 42-3/4 | 1997

[4] American Meat Science Association, « The Politics of Religious Slaughter – How Science can be Misused”, Joe M. Regenstein, Professor of Food Science, Cornell University,, Head : Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative, Stocking Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7201, USA, JMR9@cornell.edu

[5] ASIDCOM evaluates the government and declared candidates for the presidential election, http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/Lett...

[6] http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affic...

[7] Florence Bergeaud-Blackler, « La viande Halal peut-elle financer le culte musulman ? », Journal des anthropologues [En ligne], 84 | 2001, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2002, consulté le 09 août 2012. URL : http://jda.revues.org/2604 :

[8] http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/Hala...

[9] American Meat Science Association, « The Politics of Religious Slaughter – How Science can be Misused”, Joe M. Regenstein, Professor of Food Science, Cornell University, Head : Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative, Stocking Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7201, USA, JMR9@cornell.edu

[10] http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/COPE...

[11] Only 5% of the meat produced in France is obtained from a religious slaughter without stunning « Survey of the Halal Certification Agencies – year 2009 » ASIDCOM, published on line 2010, http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/Hala...

[12] Dr Shuja Shafi, deputy general-secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain said that "Over 90%of Halal meat is stunned before slaughter," 7 May, 2012, http://www.foodmag.com.au/news/rate...

[13] MBC (Muslim British Council), CFCM (Muslim Worship French Council) and ASIDCOM (Association of Awareness, Information and Defense of Muslim Consumers, France) claim a religious slaughter without any stunning. During the frameworks of the European Study of the feasibility of a Halal standards

[14] About 97% of Muslim consumers require that their meat be obtained from a religious slaughter without any stunning. “The Muslim Consumer as the Key Player in Halal”, ASIDCOM, 12 April, 2012, http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/ASID...

[15] http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/COPE...

[16] ASIDCOM is currently conducting a survey on the Muslim butchers in the North of France. About 26 butchers have already met ASIDCOM’s team and answered their questionnaire

[17] American Meat Science Association, « The Politics of Religious Slaughter – How Science can be Misused”, Joe M. Regenstein, Professor of Food Science, Cornell University, Head : Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative, Stocking Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7201, USA, JMR9@cornell.edu

[18] “The Muslim Consumer as the Key Player in Halal”, ASIDCOM, 12 April, 2012, http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/ASID...

[19] « Survey on the Halal certification agencies – year 2009 » ASIDCOM, published on line 2010, http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/Hala...

[20] “The Muslim Consumer as the Key Player in Halal”, ASIDCOM, 12 April, 2012, http://www.asidcom.org/IMG/pdf/ASID...

[21] « Interview with Darhim Hashim : a single global standard is neither feasible nor necessary”, ASIDCOM, October 2011, www.asidcom.org

[22] Gulf States Organization, Kuwait, 2008. Halal Food, Part (2) : The Requirements for Accreditation of Issuing the HALAL Food Certification Centers

[23] http://www.saphirnews.com/Halal-les...


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A propos de ASIDCOM
A propos d’ASIDCOM Créée en 2006 et présidée par Abdelaziz Di-Spigno jusqu’à juin 2011, l’association ASIDCOM est une association de consommateurs musulmans, déclarée ( type loi 1901) le 3 octobre 2006 en Préfecture des Bouches-du-Rhône, puis déclarée le 28 janvier 2013 à la Préfecture du Nord et elle (...)
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