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Politics

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://www.humanite.fr/politique/su...

by Lionel Venturini

Marine Le Pen dabbles in the world of halal slaughter

Translated Monday 5 March 2012, by Pauline Harrowell and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Reading between the lines: the National Front candidate exploits a TV report in order to scapegoat Islam once again.

Marine Le Pen once again stirred up one of the National Front’s trademark controversies by encouraging the notion of a creeping islamisation of French society when she claimed that, unbeknown to consumers, meat “distributed in the Ile-de France region” was “exclusively” halal. She stated that “all abattoirs in the Ile de France, without exception, sell halal meat.”

As was the case after a France 2 “Special Correspondent” report in 2010 about a halal fast-food outlet, a spokesperson for the Ile de France Office of Livestock Breeders – representing farmers – chimed in with the comment that all abattoirs in the region “slaughter in accordance with Muslim rituals, therefore all meat in the Ile de France is halal”.

Making a connection between slaughter and consumption

Marine Le Pen however deliberately confuses slaughter and consumption. “It is completely absurd to claim that everyone eats halal meat in Ile de France” commented Pierre Halliez, director of the French Federation of Meat Trades (Sniv-SNCP). “The tonnages slaughtered in Ile de France are tiny,” he said – some 5000 tonnes per year – “whereas at the very least 200,000 tonnes of butchery meat are consumed every year in Ile de France”.

For the most part this comes from Rungis wholesale market where meat arrives from all over Europe. The big supermarket chains source their meat from the major farming areas such as Brittany, Normandy, the Loire, and Burgundy. And here, according to an industry expert, the slaughter chains are well separated.

Even Claude Guéant joins in

“On the other hand,” admits Dominique Langlois, president of Interbev (French Meat and Livestock Association), “it may be that some meat does come from carcasses slaughtered according to halal regulations, but that in no way affects the quality of the meat.” This of course is an outrage for animal rights activists who have been campaigning since the beginning of the year against halal and kosher procedures, under which beasts are not stunned pre-slaughter. Soheib Bencheikh, a researcher into religious studies, points out that these rituals represent a “talmudisation” of Islam – a form of pieced-together observance.

Even Claude Guéant felt obliged to join in, describing the situation as “completely wrong-headed”, in agreement with industry experts. “The veterinary service ensures that abattoirs supply their halal meat to those members of the public who wish to buy it,” he said, confirming the presence of “frequent checks to prevent customers being misled as to the origins of the merchandise”. The Agriculture Ministry has also made it clear that, as a result of a ruling published at the end of 2011, by 1st July 2012 ritual slaughter would only take place by arrangement and not systematically. The moral of the story is that openness and clarity are the means to combat the NF.

Read also:
Who benefits from the doubts surrounding Le Pen’s candidacy – our political column

Marine Le Pen is still avoiding a debate with Jean-Luc Melenchon

Our special report on Marine Le Pen


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