It might have something to with the fact that it’s almost Eid al-Adha, where halal slaughter is carried out en masse, but it feels like everywhere I look halal is getting a hard time in the press. First, the iconic Campbell’s soup was targeted for a boycott after introducing halal labelling and then the Australian government refuses to send their cattle to Egypt for the Eid sacrifice.
Although it turned out that the Campbell boycott was entirely orchestrated by right-wing Islamaphobes, there is more substance to the Australian government’s move which was based on serious concerns about the way the animals were treated. An expose released by the animal rights organisation Animals Australia, documented the cruel handling and slaughter of the animals who were also forced to travel long distances in harsh conditions to reach Egypt.
With this in mind, you’ll understand how happy I was to hear about the Alliance of Religions and Conservation’s (ARC) latest project ‘Faith in Food’ which aims to inspire faith communities to adopt fairer, healthier and more sustainable ways to produce, purchase and consume food.
“What would Jesus say about farmed eggs?”
The Alliance of Religions and Conservation is a UK-based organisation founded in 1995 which works with the world’s major religions to develop environmental programmes based on their core teachings and beliefs.
Previous projects include greening religious buildings, tree planting and fitting Doaist temples in China with solar panels.
The idea behind their recent ‘Faith in Food’ project is to help people of faith rediscover the link between their food and the land and livestock, and to get them to ask questions about whether the food they are purchasing honours their religious beliefs about caring for creation.
They want to encourage more people to think carefully about the food they eat and whether it is ethically and environmentally sourced in accordance to their religious principles. If not, then positive steps are recommended to ensure that they food they eat cares for the planet by being more sustainable and cares for creation by being moving away from factory-farming.
Leading A Food Revolution
Food plays an important role in faith celebrations such as Ramadan and Purim and ARC also state that food consumption accounts for around 30% of each individuals carbon footprint so making simple changes could have a real impact. In fact, ARC is launching Faith in Food in partnership with the Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic body, as well as the Fairtrade Foundation in a bid to encourage more sustainable food habits.
Susie Weldon from ARC explained that the idea for Faith in Food partly came from discussions around the Muslim Seven Year Plan in which it was suggested that a faith-based ethical label, for goods and services, would be really useful for people of faith to know that they’re buying something that fits with their faith beliefs.
She added: “We believe Faith in Food could be the most powerful global movement in creating a more sustainable, healthier food and farming culture – with immense benefits to the environment, animal welfare and social justice.”
For more on Faith and Food see:
Image via digicla