The Paralysis of Political Correctness

by Marcia Mueller

Halal slaughter is one of the biggest of the multiple abuses we have to face and fight in an era of multiculturalism and political correctness.

Halal is so significant in that it involves the class of animals who undergo the most suffering and the greatest numbers of deaths—“food” animals. It is a method of slaughter that demands the animals be fully conscious when their throats are slit and they are hung upside down to bleed out. It is an ancient tradition, as is kosher slaughter.

Only a few countries have seriously fought halal/kosher. Denmark banned it in February 2014, prompting an immediate and angry backlash from Jews and Muslims who were outraged by restrictions on their freedom of religious expression. In the July 29, 2015, edition of Time Magazine, Imam Khalid Latid complained that any prohibition of halal slaughter was an infringement on minority communities.

Poland banned halal and kosher, but the law was overturned by the courts: The Polish High Court stated the protection of animals “does not take priority over constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.” The judge ruled that “religious freedom is a supreme value in accordance with the constitution of Poland and stands above any other law and is not restricted.”

In Sweden a group of parents demanded that halal chicken not be served in schools, and some schools have complied. There has been discussion in France about the issue, but it appears most people do not care about how animals are slaughtered.

The topic of ritual slaughter of “food” animals has not been raised seriously in this country, but a ban on ritual slaughter in Florida has already been ruled as an infraction of religious freedom by the Supreme Court, and the ban was overturned.

So worshiping God by torturing animals is a travesty that has been accepted by some religions and upheld by the courts and the constitution. This begs the question, how many other kinds of abuse will we be asked to tolerate? How much abuse could be ignored or covered up to avoid litigation and accusations of bigotry?

Obviously every culture has its own forms of animal abuse, and for decades we have been condemning traditional cruelties of the United States and other industrial societies: bullfighting, sport and trophy hunting, experimentation, fur farming, entertainment in the form of circuses and rodeos, etc., dog fighting, and the euthanasia of unwanted pets. We believe that just because some behaviors have become customs does not mean they should be allowed to continue.

However, some of the abuses we are being faced with leave us more worried about the race or ethnicity of the abuser than about the abuse. We have seen some of this in the halal issue, as well as in the reluctance to condemn the depletion of the shark population for shark fin soup and the horrific killing of dogs and cats for food in Asia. Some hesitate to criticize the killing of animals to use their parts as medicines for traditional medicine, or to protest trophy hunting in Africa in the belief it benefits the poor.

I fear there is a possibility of moving backwards in our quest to make the world better for animals.

We have to ask if, in the current atmosphere of political correctness, we will stand up and fight for the ones who have no power to help themselves and who suffer the most. Will shelters and sanctuaries continue to call out and condemn cruelty where they find it or will they fear offending some members of the community and relegate the abuse to “a cultural issue.” Will even the big animal rights organizations capitulate to maintain membership and avoid the stigma and consequences of being labeled racist, bigoted, and xenophobic .

No one questions that racism and bigotry are bad. But we should not allow the words themselves to be used as weapons against those fighting abuse.



Managing Editor’s Notes:

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10 thoughts on “The Paralysis of Political Correctness

  1. Political correctness is so pathetic! Once a purported vegan begged me not to use the word “fat” on my blog (a food blog!) and once a bunch of purported vegans on the VegNews Facebook page “liked” (adopted) the views of a pro-hunter (Nicole Perry) for opposing the word “retard”! She doesn’t oppose hunting though. Her hubby, Douglas Joseph Perry, enjoys murdering beautiful animals.


  2. This blog has come a long way, first endorsing Trump for president, and now featuring a virulently anti-Muslim screed by a guest columnist.
    What a wonderful example of compassion by one who used to identify with ahimsa, Poland’s attempt to replace halal with humane slaughter. Poland may have referred to it as banning kosher slaughter and halal, but, of course, there has been almost no kosher slaughter in Poland since it was effectively ended in the 1940s. The Vichy government in France also banned kosher slaughter for a time, and their successors in the National Front will no doubt try to ban it again along with halal if, as expected, they win the French presidency in 2017.
    I am not an adherent of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, veganism, secular humanism, or any other religion. But I know that if fascists return to power, they will care only about my ancestry, not my religious beliefs.
    Meanwhile, France is stuck with a Socialist president making up for the loss of Vietnam and Algeria by joining the US-led bombing campaign in Syria. And what of the refugees fleeing Syria, including the notorious cases of children drowning while attempting to reach Europe? Obviously, they deserve to die before they can spread their evil culture.
    Of course, there are other ways to end Muslim culture. The United States originally built its economy on the backs of Muslims forcibly taken from Africa. How unfortunate that political correctness makes it difficult to go back to this solution.
    Now the US leads the world in nuclear arms production. A confrontation between Russia and US allies in Syria could easily lead to a full-scale nuclear war. This would be the true “final solution,” as there would no longer be any chickens or cows or any humans to slaughter them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marc, I do not know how you managed to glean a “final solution” agenda from reading anything written by Marcia Mueller or myself.

      I am both an atheist and an anti-theist. I would ban all religions were it within my power to do so.

      Short of that, I would prohibit religious practices which harm others, both humans and non-humans. Such a position would mean an end to halal and kosher slaughter, animal sacrifices, genital mutilation, etc.

      I see religions not as misguided, but as actually evil.
      Not for what they are, but for what they make us become.

      I am a frequent and outspoken critic of religion. Most of my criticism has been of the pernicious effects of religion on public discourse and government policy.

      But an even more troubling aspect of religion is its affect on people’s concept of justice.

      If one believes that there is a god, and that god is just and fair, then the urgency to make things right in the here and now becomes relatively unimportant, as god will sort it out. The Hitlers and Pol Pots will be punished, murderers will be held to account, even those who are cruel to animals will get their comeuppances!

      And if people buy into the whole idea of god giving humans dominion over the animals, so is born the root cause of all animal abuse, cruelty and exploitation.

      With the exception of Jainism (practiced by a paltry couple of million adherents, primarly in India), all major religions are enemies of animals. Some are more cruel to animals than are others. Most Christians and Jews do not practice animal sacrifice, for example. Islam does. Kosher and halal are both indescribably cruel, but halal slaughter occurs on a much greater scale than does kosher slaughter, as the world popluation of Muslims dwarfs the world population of Jews.

      Opposing such brutality and cruelty is hardly seeking a “final solution!” Suggesting such as motive for calls to end ritual killing is ludicous. Twisting attempts to end cruelty into attempts to eradicate Jews is exactly the kind of criticism that the article addresses.

      Political correctness has the potential of paralyzing activists. Your comment here is an example of its use as a weapon against animal activists, whether you intended to do so or not,

      Finally, I did not endorse Donald Trump for president. I have written several articles about Trump. Most were favorable, based upon his opposition to trade agreements, PACs, and lobbyists. Of the Republican and Democratic candidates, only Sanders and Trump are critical of the current method of campaign financing. And I support Sanders.


    • Marc, I never intended to write an “anti-Muslim screed,” but thank you for supporting my point about political correctness.

      The concept of ahimsa is not consistent with halal/kosher killing. And according to the Jewish Telegraphic agency, kosher slaughter was a 500 million dollar industry in Poland in 2012, so it does not seem to have ended in 1940.

      No culture, religion, or group of people can pass the purity test of never having indulged in cruelty to animals or humans. Therefore, no culture, religion, or group of people should be above criticism.

      For years as an activist I have been fighting bullfighting and the religious festivals in Spain where approximately 60,000 animals a year may be tortured and killed. I have also written Catholic Church authorities saying such cruelty has no place in a religion that preaches mercy, it has no place in the modern world, and asserting it is past time to condemn it. Does that make me anti-Catholic?

      I have signed signed petitions and written letters to stop Karporos. Would that make me anti-Semitic?

      I have donate to a group that is trying to stop horse tripping. Would that make me anti-Hispanic?

      I have also taken actions to stop rodeos, horse soring, and the Omak Suicide Race here in Washington state, where horses are raced down a steep hill and into a river, often with injuries and fatalities. So I guess I’m unpatriotic as well.

      In the “screed,” I also mentioned animal abuse taking place in China and Africa, along with noting that activists are fighting abuses common to America and Europe. I think I have been an equal opportunity fighter against animal abuse. I can’t find a good reason for exemptions.

      I’m not sure how Syria is relevant here or how abandoning ritual killing would end Muslim culture.


      • I don’t know if there are any reliable statistics on kosher slaughter in Poland before the Holocaust, but I will try to find them. In any case,I wouldn’t regard a $500 million industry in a country of nearly 40 million people as a major industry.
        No slaughter of animals is every justified, but the question, to me at least, is what strategy activists should pursue. Associating animal rights with the ongoing worldwide campaign to vilify Muslims does not seem to me to be an effective strategy for actually helping animals. If you want to call that political correctness, that’s fine with me.


      • Making the observation that mainstream Islam is just as brutal as is radical jihadist Islam (from a non-speciesist perspective) is hardly vilifying Muslims. We must not distinguish between human and non-human murder.


      • My mention of Syria was meant as a response to your comments about immigration to Europe on the other thread. Perhaps I shouldn’t have posted it here, but I am concerned that now, when the US and its allies are portraying the entire Muslim population as the main evil force in the world, is not the best time to be pushing for a ban on halal. I’m not saying that any animal activist should recognize some sort of “right” to halal, but I question the wisdom of raising the issue in the current world political context.
        Kaporos, a despicable medieval tradition among a small subset of Orthodox Jews, is not representative of the majority of Jews, any more than ISIS is representative of the majority of Muslims. Some Jews may charge opponents of Kaporos with anti-Semitism, but many others agree with the need to end Kaporos, some on religious grounds.
        As to the prevalence of Kosher slaughter in modern Poland, it appears to have been revived very recently for the world export market. I stand corrected on the current situation, but stand by my comments on its near total absence for decades after the Holocaust:
        “Polish officials are specifically skittish about their ban because it also had an adverse affect on their economy with unemployment that exceeds that of the European Union. Sources say that religious slaughter for both kosher and halal could net the Polish economy as much as $500 million a year with the potential of as much as $1 billion in less than 5 years. Israeli kosher sources say that they alone were on the verge of concluding major deals with the Polish companies and that is not to mention markets in the US. … When Poland joined the European Union in 2004, it had a minuscule industry of ritually slaughtered meat. Nine years later the country had emerged as one of the EU’s leading exporters, with 273,000 tons produced annually, of which approximately 20 percent was kosher and 80 percent was halal — nearly all of it for export.”


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