Willowbrook Halal Standard
What is Halal and Tayib and why are they linked?
Halal literally means 'acceptable' or 'sanctified'. But the concept of halal food goes further than the literal meaning and is used in the Quran in conjunction with the word 'tayib', meaning pure, healthy or natural.
Chapter 5:4 "They ask you what is lawful (halal) for them. Say "what is pure and natural (tayib) is lawful (halal) for you".
We believe the raising of our animals is just as important as the dispatch, we rear our animals in a welfare friendly and environmentally sustainable manner.
We use natural breeds, suited to free range conditions and avoid using the indoor commercial breeds that rely on chemicals and unnatural conditions to survive (for example the commercial chicken breed Ross Cobb).
How do you dispatch your animals?
We kill all of our poultry personally on the farm, individually and by hand, with a minimum stun which does not kill or cause any lasting damage to the animals.
For our lamb and beef we use a small local halal abattoir. We have personally witnessed their use of the stun on our lambs and beef and we are satisfied that a minimum stun is used before slaughter and the bleed out is immediate and full. We have known the slaughterman for a number of years and we are satisfied the process is conducted responsibly.
Is stunning acceptable?
In most UK abattoirs there is considerable suffering for animals which are agitated and stressed by the mass slaughter process. To allow the slaughter of these animals without pacifying them could be considered unacceptable (haram). It can be argued, that under these conditions stunning is more humane.
There is a consensus of scholars that stunning is not forbidden and is acceptable provided it is not the cause of death.
Similarly under current UK law, animals must be killed by severance of the carotid arteries, not by the stun. So in theory there is little dividing UK legislation and halal slaughter methods. Both require the animal to be calm and slaughtered by incision. There is, of course, the additional prayer of gratitude offered by a Muslim slaughterman.
It should be noted that the use of stun simply masks the real problem and sidesteps the necessary changes (such as reducing the size and layout of abattoirs). Our personal view, after witnessing both sides of the argument, is that the abattoirs we now use with the safeguards and practices they put in place, provide the best possible option for us, at present.
Are you certified Halal?
We have, since our inception as the first halal and tayib farm in the UK, been able to obtain a reputation in the UK and abroad as providers of high quality, natural and halal produce. Our guarantee is a very personal one where our customers take responsibility for their own choices and have a direct connection with the source of their food.
Halal monitoring bodies do not look at the animal's life, which means an animal can be raised in appalling factory conditions but still get halal certification. Furthermore even in the slaughter, both the HMC and the HFA, do not stipulate requirements to mitigate the litany of welfare abuses during the transportation and mass slaughter of the animals and they approve large scale abattoir slaughter processes. As a result we do not seek their certification.