The existence of the animal kingdom is evident far before the existence of human beings and is an essential part of the universe. Human beings have been using them to serve multiple needs for generations, being an important module of human society they must be entitled to certain rights. In the past few decades, agriculture and animal-rearing have become commercialized, the breeding and slaughtering of farm animals have become an unethical money-making business, as a result, these animals are deprived of their basic rights. It’s time to discuss more on this and derive judicious benefits from them under the ethical animal welfare sphere. Shariah compliance Halal label has also lost its credibility due to its focus on maximum productivity, as the consumption of meat products has increased in recent decades and animal rights violation has led to a significant increase in health issues, the exploitation leads to harmful effects on the environment and animal health as well.
Moving further in the topic lets us set the standard for Animal Rights from the scriptures. A time when humans beings were deprived of basic human rights The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم talked about Animal Rights and their welfare before one and a half-century. Long before the emergence of the animal rights evolution, Islam asked human beings to treat animals with kindness and dignity. Allah’s mercy reaches all His creations and the aspiration behind the existence of those creatures is crystal clear, the protection, welfare, and prohibits all kinds of cruelty. Only under strict conditions, we are allowed to consume animal meat.
The Quran informs us about animal communities, which are similar to ours. This can draw us kindness towards them: And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord, they will be gathered.(Quran 6:38)
In this verse, Allah, explains like us that animals are also members of different communities. An animal is also a member of their family for their fellow creature, the verse invites us to respect animals the same way we respect human beings.
In another verse Allah clarifies us about the purpose of the existence of His creations:
And indeed, for you in livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from that which is in their bellies, and for you in them are numerous benefits, and from them, you eat. And upon them and on ships you are carried.(Quran 23:21-22)
And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them, you eat.(Quran 16:5)
These verses exhibit that animals have been created for human benefit. We can have animals at our disposal for our livelihood, for our clothing, and traveling, the consumption of animal flesh is only allowed if the animals are treated with dignity before and after slaughter.
Islam strictly forbids all types of inhuman treatments of Allah’s creation. The Relevance of Animal Welfare under Islam provides considerable support for the importance of animal welfare. The Quran is explicit concerning using animals for human purposes and its teachings of kindness and concern for animals. Animals are not merely resources, but as creatures dependent on God. Animals are seen to have their own lives and purpose, valuable to themselves above and beyond any material value, they may provide to humanity. One Hadith quotes Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم as saying: “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.”
Islam and animal welfare
All living creatures including humans, animals, birds, and insects are worthy of consideration and deserve respect. Islam strongly enforces its followers to treat animals with compassion and do not abuse them. According to Islamic teachings, animals have a specific purpose, fundamentally they have been created to fulfill the multiple needs of mankind, on the other hand, humans have been directed not to waste the lives of animals and are held responsible for their well-being and feed. It is only permitted to kill an animal for particular needs, e.g. food, clothing, etc. Apart from the daily usual benefits, Islam has disclosed some outstanding characters bestowed upon the animals which can be even useful in the present scientific era. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: When you hear the barking of dogs and the braying of asses at night, seek refuge in Allah, for they see which you do not see”. According to this revelation, some of the animals can foresee natural events such as floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes that cause great damage or loss of life. Hence, they need more attention from mankind in contrast to what humans normally offer.
Animal welfare denotes the state of the animal and the treatment it receives during its whole life span, which includes animal care, flooding, shelter, and obviously human handling. The brain back for this trend is that animals are living beings and deserve dignity, secondly, in business, the maltreated animals yield lower quality meat than the ones well treated, to keep balance sheet green the enhancement in animal welfare and handling systems, are gaining attention. Further, the technological developments have led to developing animal-friendly systems that handle animals to ensure consideration for their welfare, adoption animal welfare has led to higher quality products with minimum waste, thereby increasing profits. So an ethical livestock handling is an excellent business model. The sole objective is to create and provide ease. The animals are entitled to Four Freedoms:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom from distress
Islam has surprised the world by qualifying a person to Haven for being kind to animals and hell for ill-treatment. In the ages of darkness, when even mankind could not be imagined to be treated well, animals were put in the slant of compassion and kindness. The merciful treatment of animals is now trending, specific to pre and post-slaughter guidelines that have been introduced to abattoirs. Currently, the animals are being slaughtered under the guidance of both halal and conventional standards, both types are conscious regarding the compassionate treatment during slaughter. The halal standards in this regard reflect that animals must be served with merciful treatment, hence, they must be treated as such that they are not stressed or excited before slaughter, holding areas for cattle should be provided with drinking water, as well as they should be nourished and well-rested. The slaughter knife must be sharp. The size of the knife should be proportioned to the size of the neck, the knife should not be sharpened in front of the animal, furthermore, one animal should not be slaughtered in front of the other animal. Concerning slaughtering of lactating animals it is disliked as is evident from the following hadith: Once Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم came nearer a man from among the Ansar who had picked up a knife to slaughter an animal for the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said to him: “Avoid those lactating animals”
Lactation implies the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and the time duration that a mother lactates to feed her young, this period is considered important for the better growth and nourishment of the newborn. From the above discourse, it is crystal clear that animals should be treated with kindness. Adopting Halal and ethical practice will be a win-win scenario for an enterprise involved in the meat business.
Finally, we can conclude that Animals are part of human society, hence they should be treated humanely in all aspects of their lives.
Prospects of halal in Indian markets
Around twenty-five percent of the world’s population is hungry for Halal, It’s trending – everyone wants halal action. If it’s for rewards in the hereafter or revenue generation, nowadays achieving halal status is the core marketing strategy for many businesses. In the Economic slowdown, halal has also increased brand value, mitigated entry barriers, and stabilized fluctuating markets. Muslims, nowadays are seen to exhibit stronger signs of loyalty towards religious sentiments, as per the estimate, the Muslim population in India is projected to be 236.2 million in 2030. The Muslim share of India‟s population is expected to be 15.9% in 2030. The absence of clarity about Haram or Halal prevents Muslim consumers to use the processed products. Muslim consumers would be inclined by the adoption of Halal methods.