Halal body questions future role of cloning on foods
A speech given by the president and CEO of the Halal Food Authority late last year, and recently made available to MeatInfo.co.uk, outlines the organisation’s stance on animal cloning and the effect it has on halal foods.
According to the president of the Halal Food Authority (HFA) Masood Khawaja, animal cloning and its impact on halal foods must be explored as the world’s population continues to grow.
In the speech, which was presented to the Halal Congress at Sharjah, UAE in the Middle East, he said: “HFA is all for adapting science and technology and usage of its benefits for humankind. But there is always a proviso required.
“Is this cloning of animals going to be allowed for Muslims, is it permissible, is it going to be the case, like intensive farming, where we only knew about it after it came to grace our dinner table?”
He also asked whether or not the things scientists were doing with animal DNA was ethical and, more importantly, he said, what would it do to the human DNA and would animal cloning give humans the same nourishment as conventional meat?
Is it halal?
However, Naved Syed of Eblex’s halal steering group explained that, as cloned meat was untested and it was unknown what the effects are on the human body, it could not be halal. He told MeatInfo.co.uk: “In halal, it’s simple: if in doubt, it’s a ‘NO’ and there’s a massive amount of doubt around cloned meat.”
In agreement with Syed is head of certification at the Halal Authority Board Shaykh Tauqir, who said: “Islamic perceptions are quite clear — if anything is harmful, then we should avoid it. There is also no need to clone animals for meat, because we have an eco-system that works very well and produces meat naturally.”
Tauqir added that the natural processes should be stuck to, as they are proven to work. He explained that even when animals are slaughtered for halal meat now, only the healthy animals are slaughtered, because it is more likely their meat is going to be healthy.
However, both Syed and Tauqir did agree that it could be possible for cloned meat to be consumed as halal if it was ever proven to be completely safe. However, both stressed it was not something that could be discussed now, as it was not yet reality.
Such issues were pointed out by Masood, who asked that several caveat provisions and qualifications from the HFA be kept in mind for the future of animal cloning and halal. He said There must be an EU and global identification and registration system for cloned animals. He added that the impact on the environment must also be taken into account, as well as an assurance for the welfare of the cloned animals.
Masood also cited the same concerns of Syed and Tauqir, and said: “Islamic axiom, standard and criteria for definition of halal foods would always apply whence endorsement is done for halal status.” He added that the food produced should be wholesome, pure, safe and fit for human consumption.
But in order to shed some light on the future of cloned meat and its place with halal, Masood spoke of the past and said: “Notwithstanding that when the loudspeaker was introduced, there was judgement given that it was forbidden to be used for adhan (the call to prayer). Imagine, is there any mosque now, however big or small, that does not have the said electronic system.
“Likewise, at the time photography was becoming a reliable mode of recording, it was adjudged to be in contravention of Shariah (legislation). Now, if you please, there are in the UK alone 11 Muslim TV Channels. It shows we found objections, but did also adopt as means of propagation, enhancing procedures and facilitating ourselves with modern gadgets but with still no real effect on the theory and theology.”