Are Americans merely unsuspecting pawns in a "stealth halal" conspiracy? That's what some bloggers are saying -- at least when it comes to some of the plump, Thanksgiving turkeys on offer at your local supermarket.
Halal is an Arabic term used to designate food permissible for consumption according to Islamic law, similar to the Kosher designation under Jewish law. This Thanksgiving, taking a juicy bite of a Butterball turkey could, in fact, mean you're in compliance with Islamic law.
What is different here regarding the potentially Halal-certified Butterballs and Kosher meats, is that Kosher meats are just that -- exclusively Kosher -- and are always, without exception, clearly designated as such. In fact, Kosher meats are never marketed as anything other than Kosher. In this instance, it seems Butterball might be certifying its turkeys as Halal without including the designation on its labels and product information. Why?
The Blaze contacted Butterball to find out if its turkeys are indeed compliant with Halal standards, but the answer was murky at best. Butterball claims that the manner in which the company slaughters its turkeys "allow for Halal certification." The company, however, qualified that it does not go the extra step in reciting ritual prayers over the meat once slaughtered -- that process, according to Butterball, is reserved for Islamic second-party distributers who purchase the company's turkeys. Once in the hands of Islamic distributors, the turkeys, according to Butterball, can be marketed any way the distributor deems fit.
When asked why, if the turkeys are slaughtered in compliance with Halal practice in the first place, is there no designation included on its product labels, Butterball stated that the USDA does not require them to label their turkeys accordingly.
Anti-Islamist blogger Pamela Geller, in a column on The American Thinker, explains that halal meats are already ubiquitous throughout the meat industry, but now they have infiltrated the popular turkey producer Butterball:
A citizen activist and reader of my website AtlasShrugs.com wrote to Butterball, one of the most popular producers of Thanksgiving turkeys in the United States, asking them if their turkeys were halal. Wendy Howze, a Butterball Consumer Response Representative, responded: “Our whole turkeys are certified halal.”
According to Geller, "we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a torturous method: Islamic slaughter.” But it is worth noting that there is little difference in the Halal method of slaughter and Kosher slaughter, as Muslims adopted the practice from Judaism. Both methods, when done properly, are meant to ensure animals are killed in a humane manner by slitting the throat swiftly with the sharpest blade possible, thus ensuring a painless kill. In both instances, the animals are not stunned or rendered incapacitated before being slaughtered. There are also ritual prayers that are said over the animal during this process.
But while it is difficult to imagine that mass-produced turkeys are killed in a manner clearly not conducive to meeting the volume-requirements of a turkey giant like Butterball, that doesn't mean it's impossible.
Still, Geller contends that if you like freedom and hate sharia, you should boycott Butterball and ask them to stop selling the birds in question:
Non-Muslims in America and Europe don’t deserve to have halal turkey forced upon them in this way, without their knowledge or consent. So this Thanksgiving, fight for your freedom. Find a non-halal, non-Butterball turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. And write to Butterball and request, politely but firmly, that they stop selling only halal turkeys, and make non-halal turkeys available to Americans who still value our freedoms.
Robert Spencer, Geller's anti-Sharia compatriot called the revelation “shocking” on his Jihad Watch blog, and promoted the “Boycott Butterball Turkey” Facebook page, which encourages supporters to “keep calling and writing. All halal should be labeled.”
According to the boycott Facebook page, Butterball's Howze responded with the following email on November 14, 2011:
Thanks for contacting Butterball. Our whole turkeys are certified halal. However, if you would like to know about any other Butterball products, please email us back as to which products you are interested in using and we can get that information for you.
Again, thanks for your interest in Butterball. We hope you find this information helpful.
Consumer Response Representative
Below is a screenshot of the Boycott Butterball Turkey Facebook page:
Geller and Spencer are not the only ones outraged. The site Bare Naked Islam provided this “WARNING” for its readers: “ALL ‘BUTTERBALL’ TURKEYS ARE HALAL-SLAUGHTER CERTIFIED. JUST IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING. I have just learned that the turkeys so many Americans enjoy for the holidays are certified Islamic-blessed, halal-slaughtered birds.”
Anti-Islamist, anti-bear activist Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association also weighed in, tweeting this warning on Tuesday: “Be advised: every single Butterball turkey sold in America this Thanksgiving has been sacrificed to Allah first.”
In the grand scheme, Halal certified meat does not necessarily make for an inferior product, but it is highly unusual that Butterball would not include the Halal certifications on their labels. On many dry-goods and dairy products there is a "K" or "U" to designate a Kosher certification -- why not with Halal?