Halal Chicken

Community and media statement 

AFIC addresses community concerns over Halal chicken 

1 April 2021 

AFIC has received hundreds of calls and emails from members of the community as well as chicken producers in response to a video that is circulating with respect to Controlled Atmospheric Stunned (CAS) Chicken. Some refer to this as “gas” stunning. 

AFIC is very concerned about the fears that have been generated because of this video. AFIC reviewed the video in detail and found that this video contains unverified and misleading material. 

The Almighty says in the Qur’an; Sura Tahrim verse 1: 

“… why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you? … .” (66:1) 

Islam strictly forbids Muslims from declaring anything as lawful or prohibited (under the Islamic teachings) in any manner that is contrary to the Islamic teachings. 

The issue in question is whether chicken that is humanely stunned through controlled atmospheric stunning (CAS) is Halal. The ability to certify whether this is Halal or not depends on the impact of CAS on the chicken. 

There are three essential requirements that are universally accepted by Islamic Scholars with respect to slaughtered meat, these are: 

1 – The animal feed is acceptable. 

2 – The animal is alive at the time of slaughter, and 

3 – The animal’s welfare. 

We understand that the matter of Controlled Atmospheric Stunning of chicken has become the subject of controversy. 

Where a slaughterhouse uses CAS prior to slaughter, the Halal audit process must include Muslim Veterinarians who test the birds after stunning to ensure that they remain alive up to the point of slaughter. This is to meet the second requirement that is stated above. 

To meet the third requirement, we refer to the hadith of our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, he said: 

“Verily Allah has prescribed ihsan (proficiency, perfection) in all things. So if you kill then kill well; and if you slaughter, then slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” [Muslim]. (translation taken from https://sunnah.com/nawawi40:17 ) 

This Hadith leaves no doubt that Islam gives a very high priority to animal welfare. If you are killing or slaughtering an animal, do it well and make sure that you spare it from suffering. 

Modern society has developed a humane system to slaughter animals whilst they are rested. In the present situation, particularly in Australia, the CAS used for Halal slaughter does not kill the birds, it merely puts them to sleep before they are slaughtered. This satisfies the third requirement in the hadith, being the welfare of the animal. In other countries where the dosage kills the animal, such methods would not be certified as Halal, this is why certifiers for other countries do not approve the method that kills the animal prior to slaughter. The Australian standard is that the animal is merely put to sleep before slaughter, therefore, it remains alive and remains Halal. Muslim veterinarians who participated in the Halal audits that we have seen have verified this. 

AFIC has engaged Muslim veterinarians to test CAS chicken at several locations. In the locations examined, the Muslim veterinarians found that 100% of the tested birds continued to display vital signs and were alive after stunning and remained alive until the point of slaughter. This is similar to the application of anaesthesia. Our Shariah team have confirmed that if the animal continues to display vital signs (is alive), it is NOT considered “Maitah” (carrion). Therefore, this method is Halal because the birds remained alive and were rested. 

Please note that it is a legal requirement that any bird that appears unhealthy is taken off the production line. The process of Halal slaughter requires a minimum of three trained Muslim slaughtermen to be present per shift to make sure that all the Sharia requirements are met. 

As a rule, Halal certifiers do not publish client lists. Halal certification is an issue for many Australians and some food producers are threatened with boycott if they are Halal certified. 

Please also note that Halal certification is a delicate issue for all producers and consumers. The majority of customers of Halal producers for the local market are not Muslim, this type of controversy can hurt Halal production in Australia and make it even more difficult for Muslims to source Halal food. 

AFIC is always happy to work in good faith with all stakeholders to ensure that the community receives Halal product of the highest quality and integrity. 

Authorised by

Dr Rateb Jneid President

 

Imam A Q Azhari

AFIC National Sharia Board (ANSB) 

Australian Dar Al Iftaa

 

Redacted veterinarian reports are available on request.