Feb 092015

After a public release of a certain video of animal cruelty found within a halal slaughterhouse, there has been a certain amount of "noise" regarding animal cruelty :-

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For the benefit of those too sensible to hit "play", some of the most striking things about the video :-

  1. The workers have no compunction about treating the animals with a great deal of cruelty including taunting them.
  2. Supervision seems to be non-existent. 
  3. The "quick cut with a sharp knife" seems to be a slow sawing with a blunt penknife.

I should say from the beginning that I'm a vegetarian so I'm unlikely to be sympathetic to the problems encountered by slaughterhouses (shut 'em all!). I'm also an atheist so I'm unlikely to have sympathy for religious beliefs insisting on medieval slaughterhouse techniques (if you can find a sheep that requests Halal or Kosher execution, then by all means go ahead).

But the reaction to the videos has seemed to concentrate on point 3 above, Or more specifically the need to kill by a quick cut of a knife.

Whilst I'm not keen in the quick cut method, it does seem to me that the cruelty of that method is outweighed by far, by the attitude of the slaughterhouse staff and the design of the slaughterhouse. In other words, I can easily imagine seeing a video portraying pretty much the same level of cruelty when the slaughterhouse staff are wielding a stunbolt gun. 

It seems to me that to reduce the level of cruelty, we need to have robust supervision by people who are not going to put up with any kind of abuse. People with the power to hit the big red button, and send everyone home for the day. 

Yes, there's an argument about whether the requirements for Halal and Kosher count as animal cruelty, but this video shows far more generalised animal cruelty that can be found at any badly run slaughterhouse. The question is: Just how many slaughterhouses are badly run?

Jan 102015

(Stolen from a Facebook posting)

Sounds daft doesn’t it? Because the killers themselves would have claimed they were doing it for islam. And of course there are plenty of feeble-minded bigots who are now attacking muslims and islamic places of worship.

Now don’t get me wrong: I have no patience with organised religion and think anyone who believes in an imaginary infectious friend in the sky needs their head examining. But they have a right to believe anything they want.

They just don’t have the right to inflict it on the rest of us.

Within any community (religious or otherwise), there are two sorts of people, and yes I’m being overly simplistic here. There are the majority who go along with the community and obey the dictates if they are not too inconvenient. And there are the zealots who take it to the extremes. And amongst the zealots there is a deranged minority who want to inflict the standards of their community on everyone. Some of them use violence to do so.

Now there was some idiot on the news today who claimed that despite Charlie Hebdo publishing a cartoon insulting to christians, that it wasn’t christians shooting journalists. True enough, but it there are christians murdering abortion doctors and harassing those entering abortion clinics, so it is not as if there are no christian terrorists.

Now comes a bit of a leap of faith: These terrorists whatever their faith, have more in common with each other than their co-religionists. They all espouse an extreme form of their faith, are compelled to inflict it on everyone, and resort to violence to pursue their goals.

Their most significant attribute is terrorism and not their religion. Their crimes overwhelm their faith and make their religion irrelevant.

An alternative way of looking at it is a quantitative approach. There were 3 killers involved in the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket. The number of muslims in France is not known precisely, but a figure of about 3 million seems a reasonable approximation for this sort of calculation, which if you work it out makes the number of killers in this incident just 0.0001% of the muslim population of France.

So why were there only three killers? Because muslims as a whole are not terrorists.

Besides which, there is nothing we could do to annoy the killers more than to deny their islamic nature.

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