The decision of a number of Iceland’s sheep slaughterhouses to go with the halal method has sparked outrage from some of Iceland’s fringe conservative Christians.
As the Grapevine reported, RÚV reports that the slaughterhouses SS in Selfoss, KVH in Hvamstangi and KS in Sauðárkrókur have all adopted the halal methods, but in comparison to traditional Icelandic methods of slaughtering animals, not much is changed. The most visible change to the slaughtering method is that a Muslim stands by and either recites prayers or has prayers in mind as the animals are slaughtered.
While the venture is intended to expand the market for Icelandic lamb meat, both at home and abroad, not everyone in Iceland is on board with the idea.
RÚV reports that clergy at the Filadelfia Church have threatened to organize a boycott against any meat that comes out of slaughterhouses using halal methods. The business newspaper Viðskiptablaðið is also reporting that some Christian conservatives have said that the Bible forbids Christians to eat any animal slaughtered by another faith. However, representatives of the national church that RÚV spoke to said they knew of no such biblical law.
Steinþór Skúlason, chairman of the SS chain of slaughterhouses, told RÚV that he has received a number of comments and complaints from self-described very Christian people who have called the new slaughtering method “sacrilegious against meat”. Steinþór told reporters that he was frankly surprised by the reaction.
Traditionally, Icelanders have slaughtered sheep with electric shocks to the head and back, by striking the head of the animal, and then stabbing it in the heart. The halal method that will be used instead calls for an electric shock to the head that knocks the animal unconscious, and then its throat is slit.