A group of animal rights activists staged a demonstration outside a halal slaughterhouse in Whitechapel on Saturday night.
Lesley Dove, an animal rights campaigner, organised the protest at the slaughterhouse in Hessel Street – which sits behind a shop front with the name of Muslim Halal Live Poultry and Chicken – with several other vegan activists who had attended a mass rally in Westminster earlier that day.
Dove, 52, from south-west London, said that she wanted “to raise the public awareness of veganism, spread the vegan message, by awareness of the suffering of the birds and other animals killed as food, by taking the message to the places where they are killed.”
Dove said her motivation for organising a demonstration at this halal slaughterhouse was the same as it would have been for organising one at a regular slaughterhouse because she was “inspired by other campaigners who organise vigils at slaughterhouses all around the world.”
Fellow demonstrator Jasmin Sandhu, 18, said: “We really believe that animals deserve their rights and it is really annoying and shameful that we still have got animal testing, we’ve still got these stupid slaughterhouses, we should not be having these things, there are so many of us that just don’t agree.”
The activists carried placards advocating animal rights and chalked messages such as ‘murderer’ and ‘chickens killed here’ on the pavement outside the slaughterhouse.
The halal method of live animal slaughter requires someone of Muslim faith to invoke the name of Allah prior to cutting the throat of the animal with a sharp knife. Proponents say the slaughter is carried out quickly and efficiently to ensure the animal suffers as little as possible. In all other non-religious animal slaughter, British law stipulates animals must be stunned before death.
Another demonstrator, Jaal Elfneh, a 19-year-old psychology student said: “We are all very passionate about it, we have got so many alternatives, and we are such a developed country, and we don’t need to be doing this. We don’t need to be killing animals, taking their products, we don’t need to be exploiting them in any way.”
A spokesperson for the Halal Monitoring Committee, an independent registered charity, which monitors, inspects and certifies Halal products, said:
“We believe everyone has the right to demonstrate peacefully and vegans and vegetarians have a particular view on killing animals for food. As Muslims, we believe animals should be looked after, cared for throughout their life, and then certain animals are allowed to be slaughtered humanely for food and nutrition purposes.”
“The method used for Halal in our opinion is just as humane, if not more humane than conventional slaughter, and we value the freedom to practise our faith in this country.”
The slaughterhouse refused to comment on the demonstration.