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It turns out I am a regular consumer of halal meat. Despite being a godless former Catholic who would rather chew tin foil than read the Koran, I’ve been tucking into animals slaughtered in accordance with Islamic tradition. How come? It’s Pizza Express’s fault. I’m a fan of Pizza Express, especially its Pollo ad Astra pizza, and on Wednesday it was revealed that all of Pizza Express’s chicken is halal.
So all those cajun-spiced pieces of plump white flesh I’ve been scoffing came from birds that had their throats slit while they were still alive as someone chanted “Allahu akbar” three times (though Pizza Express insists they are all stunned first).
Do I mind? Not particularly, but only because I’m not into the whole animal cruelty issue. All meat is a slaughtered beast, so it seems pointless to worry about how the creature in question was done in. But I can understand why others feel rattled by the revelation.
Rather than give its customers a choice over whether to have halal bird or more ethically bumped-off bird, Pizza Express served halal to everyone, without even telling them. The thinking seems to be that it’s better to make every Brit eat halal meat than it is to risk one Muslim accidentally eating non-halal meat.
The food-related sensitivities of 4.8 per cent of the British population should apparently trump the right of the other 95 per cent to choose whether to chomp birds cut up before death or after death. We’re entering an era of default halal, where more and more meat is made Muslim-friendly, just in case – in case a Muslim should eat a non-Islamic chicken wing and kick up a storm.