Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Golden Globe Ritual Farms

This business of women attending the Golden Globes wearing black - hope it continues - it's also a style statement. A black dress looks sophisticated.

I don't have anything to back this up but, in my experience those who seem to want to ban ritual slaughter (halal in particular - few mention Jewish shechita), professing it to be an animal welfare issue, generally seem to be on the side of reversing the ban on fox hunting. That, at least, has been my general experience when arguing the pros and cons with each position. Anyone have similar experiences? That suggests to me that those wanting to ban ritual slaughter are not at all concerned with animal welfare, but something else.

I'm not convinced ritual slaughter, carried out properly, is any more distressing on an animal than giving it a blow on the head first. Exsanguination was, after all, the preferred method of suicide among the Romans, precisely because it was the least distressing to them. Cut yourself with a very sharp knife and you're not even aware you've cut yourself till you see the trail of blood. Studies have been carried out reaching opposing conclusions, so the jury is out. The problems with animal slaughter manifest themselves when the operation has to be done on an industrial scale - that's where corners are cut in the interests of profit.

Apparently if farm subsidies were to disappear, some 90% of farms would face closure, with a consequent crash in the price of farmland. There are 210,000 farm holdings in the UK, meaning farms would shrink down to just over 21,000. According to Full Fact, on average, English farms made a £39,000 profit in 2014/15 from their farming business. Only £2,100 of this came from agriculture, which is what springs to many people's mind when they think of farming. If we look at cereal farms alone, they lost £9,500 in 2014/15.

The options seem like a nightmare scenario should subsidies disappear completely - the remaining 10% of large agribusinesses may buy up the small,  non-profitable farms, shrinking supply to just a few large companies having massive power to set higher prices (a consequence of no subsidies), or we'll have to buy food from outside the UK - probably the EU. A crash in farmland prices could be a boost for house building, but the consequences for food production are immense.


  1. A crash in farmland prices could also lead to the anti-hunting, liberal metropolitan types snapping up even more holiday home bargains - wouldn't that be ironic for those good country-folk who voted for Brexit..

  2. Halal slaughter carried out as humanely as possible may well be no more traumatic than conventional methods. I suspect though that the initial cost of Halal certification and its ongoing registration costs and specialised staff requirements puts the consumer price of meat up for all whether they have that religious need or not. Good excuse for going veggie - so far carrots don't need to face mecca..