A meeting of the DIALREL Advisory Board meeting took place in Brussels on Tuesday 25th November 2008. Chowdhury Mueen Uddin a member of MCB Food Standard Committee represented the chair Dr. Shuja Shafi who is also an advisor to the project. DIALREL is a project to look into the animal welfare issues in religious slaughter (both halal and shachita) within Europe funded by European Commission 6th framework Programme.
Chaired by project's director Dr. Mara Meile the participants in the advisory committee included, academics, government officials in research departments from a number of European countries as well as Israel. A senior EU official Mr. Andrea Gavinelli, Director General of Health Consumers and Head of Unit on Animal Welfare also attended the meeting. Rabbi Chanoch Kesselman, Executive Coordinator of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregation of Hackney, Rabbi S. I. Winegarten of Shechita U.K. and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin took part as only three religious advisors representing Britain.
At the beginning the research methodology was explained saying that they have circulated questionnaire to lot of groups, individuals and slaughter houses in 15 countries. The number of returned questionnaire was 325. Various work programme leaders gave presentation on Religion, legislation and animal welfare, evaluation of current practices, getting information about consumers' views in different countries, analysis of the supply chain and promotion of debate and dissemination. Apart from these presentations were also given on examples of incidents and scale of practice of religious slaughter in Europe, consumer consumption issues of halal and kosher foods in Europe and elsewhere.
Presentations included examples from slaughter after stunning, slaughter without stunning and slaughter with post cut stunning. It was presented as 'scientific welfare concern' at slaughter. However, advisors later pointed out the project actually mean 'religious slaughter' only as no examples of conventional (meaning pre-stunned) slaughter was presented.
Advisors questioned projects academic competence and honesty and felt that the research remains deeply flawed and incomplete. They argued that Shechita and Halal method without stunning is more painless and humane. They questioned the validity of the research based on such a small sample, and argued that it can not be used to reverse the century's old religious system which is more humane. They expressed their dissatisfaction that the advisory committee has now been convened at the fag-end of this extensive 3-year project. They said that the whole research appears to be conducted to establish a pre-conceived notion and an attempt to deny the human rights of Europe's religious communities by denying them their right to religious slaughter.
They pointed out that it seems one of the priority is to facilitate what one presentation called 'high speed slaughter'. This statement is enough to prove that animal welfare and humane slaughter is nothing more than a smoke screen to hide the real reason which is the concern of profit through industrial scale slaughter. The chair Mara Meile admitted that their research is a work in progress and not a very definitive conclusion as no research can claim that it is the last word.