October 15, 2013
In Massa Carrara, animal rights groups blocked access to a barn that housed 80 lambs, which will be used for the slaughter ritual planned by Muslims on the occasion of the feast of sacrifice. A group of people tried to prevent the transfer of the lambs to slaughter and police had to intervene.
August 22, 2010
Coop and Carrefour, two famous brands of supermarket, are planning to sell halal meat in their stores in the region of Piedmont. The supermarkets actions will simply the life of the Piedmontese Muslim community; however on the other hand it has triggered a passionate debate by animal rights associations which have launched a boycott and information campaign. The animal rights groups are critical of the Islamic method of killing animals, which calls for the animal to be conscious when it is slaughtered. The traditional procedure adopted by Italian supermarkets, instead, requires that the animal is anaesthetized before being killed so as to reduce the suffering, which leads to lower levels of toxins in the animal’s blood and flesh. To tone down the controversy, Coop has assured that the Imam responsible for the slaughtering has accepted the use of anesthesia. However, it will be the Muslim consumers, who represent a growing segment of the Italian market that will decide the success of this initiative.
Germany has four million Muslim inhabitants but the market for halal food — produced according to Islamic law — is still in its infancy, partly because firms fear the wrath of animal rights groups. But companies are slowly waking up to this fast-growing market.
The potential market for halal food in Germany is huge. An estimated four million Muslims live in Germany, and the community is pre-programmed to grow because Muslims have a higher birth rate than non-Muslims. Halal already accounts for 17 percent of the global food market, according to the World Halal Forum based in Malaysia.
“German companies are too cautious,” says Levent Akgül of ethnic marketing agency Akkar Media in Hanover. “They don’t know the different culture and they can’t calculate the risks.”
In addition, German food retailers are worried that putting halal food products on grocery store shelves will deter non-Muslim customers, says Akgül. Advertising for halal products in Germany is still taboo for many German companies, he says.