Is the Canadian meat inspection regulations deem the meat permissible for Muslim consumption?
I live in Canada and I wanted to get a Fatwa on whether meat bought in the store is halal or not. The Canadian Meat Inspection Regulations has the following rules for slaughtering.
- Every food animal that is slaughtered shall, before being bled,
a) be rendered unconscious in a manner that ensures that it does not regain consciousness before death, by one of the following methods in a manner that causes immediate loss of consciousness;
i) delivering a blow to the head by means of a penetrating or non-penetrating mechanical device,
ii) by exposure to a gas or a gas mixture, or
iii) by the application of an electrical current
b) or be killed by one of the methods set out in paragraph (a) or, in the case of a bird or a domesticated rabbit, by rapid decapitation.
Thank you and Jazakom Allah Kheir
The principle concerning the meat of animals slaughtered by the People of the Book is permissibility unless it is certain that the meat comes from an animal which has not been slaughtered in the manner dictated by Islamic law, its slaughterer is not one of the People of the Book, or the slaughtered animal is from the kinds of animals whose meat is unlawful for consumption.
Pre-slaughter electric stunning or analgesic drug injections to subdue animals involve two scenarios:
i)- Using a non-lethal injection or a low pressure electric current. The effects of these two methods should only subdue the animal and minimize pain i.e. [their effects are reversible] and the animal regains its normal functions if it is not eventually slaughtered.
ii)- Using a strong substance for injecting the animal or a high pressure electric current. These increase the animal’s pain and suffering and leads to its death even if it is not slaughtered.
There is no harm in using a pre-slaughter stunning method that involves using a weak analgesic substance or a low electrical current as explained above, if the aim is to control and subdue the animal at the time of slaughtering. The light pain generated from these methods mitigates the greater pain produced by slaughtering. It is known that “In the presence of two evils, the greater is avoided by the commission of the lesser”.
It is impermissible to use a strong analgesic substance or high electric current unnecessarily since this involves increasing the animal’s suffering. This moreover contravenes the teaching of Islam concerning mercy as demonstrated in Prophetic reports.
If any of these methods lead to the animal’s death before its slaughter, it is then considered carrion and it is unlawful to consume its meat. Conversely, the meat is considered lawful for consumption if the animal remains alive and resumes its normal functions until it is slaughtered in the Islamic manner and dies. This is evidenced by the words of God the Almighty Who says, “You are forbidden to eat carrion; blood; pig’s meat; any animal over which any name other than God’s has been invoked; any animal strangled, or victim of a violent blow or a fall, or gorged or savaged by a beast of prey, unless you still slaughter it [in the correct manner]” [5:3).
If there is doubt concerning the cause of the animal’s death, whether it was due to stunning or slaughtering, the preferred opinion concerning its ruling is the impermissibility of consuming its meat. This is because the principles of jurisprudence state that when the religiously lawful and unlawful coincide, the unlawful shall be dominant.
In its tenth session, the Islamic Council of Jurisprudence of the World Islamic League held in Mecca from Saturday 23 Safar 1408 AH/17 October 1987 CE –Wednesday 28 Safar 1408 AH/21 October 1987 CE passed a resolution conforming to the above. It stated: “Animals that are slaughtered in the Islamic manner after stunning are lawful for consumption if the stunning methods meet the technical conditions which ensure that the animal remains alive before its slaughter. These have been determined by experts as follows:
-Placing the electrodes at the temples or in a head-to-back electrode position. Voltage should be between 100-400 v.
-Current strength should be between 0.75 -1.0 amps for sheep and 2-2.5 amps for cattle.
The electric discharge should last for 3-6 seconds.
It is impermissible to use the non-penetrative bolt gun, axe, hammer, or bilateral thoracotomy to daze the animal prior to its slaughter.
Pre-slaughter electric stunning is impermissible since it has been proved that this methods leads to a significant percentage of death among the animals prior to their slaughter.
The meat of animals that have been subjected to pre-slaughter stunning using a carbon dioxide-oxygen mixture or a spherical head pistol without killing the animals, is lawful for consumption.”
Pre-slaughter stunning to subdue animals, whether by administering a weak analgesic, by electric shock that is carried out with a weak electric current, or by any other method determined by specialists are lawful. It is necessary that these stunning methods do not cause the animals to die if they are not slaughtered, but remain alive and healthy and are eventually slaughtered in the Islamic manner wherein their meant becomes lawful for consumption.