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Animal welfare guidelines presented to the World Halal Forum 2009 by a WSPA team were very well received last week. Including chapters on health, handling, living conditions and transportation up to the point of slaughter, the welfare guidelines will be considered as part of a Global Halal Standard – a benchmark for the halal industry worldwide.
The International Halal Integrity Alliance (IHI Alliance), the organisers of the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, invited WSPA to present the guidelines during the forum.
WSPA was also the only animal welfare organisation to be selected as a panel member for the sessions on animal welfare, poultry slaughter and bovine (cow) and ovine (sheep) slaughter.
The IHI Alliance and WSPA formalised their cooperation at an earlier meeting in Cairo where they held a closed door meeting with the Honourable Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar Institute, Dr Mohamed Sayed Al Tentawy, as reported in April.
The Global Halal Standard contains 10 modules in total, ranging from animal welfare and slaughter to logistics, food service and finance. At the World Halal Forum 2009, five of the 10 modules were presented and discussed.
The remaining five will be discussed at the next World Halal Forum in 2010, with a view of having the 10 modules of the Global Halal Standard approved by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in the near future.
The World Halal Forum is the premier global halal industry event. The industry experiences 25 per cent growth annually and has the potential to cater for 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.
“Given the growing size of the halal industry, working with the IHI Alliance to introduce guidelines on animal welfare would be a considerable achievement, affecting a huge amount of animals,” commented Sofia Parente of WSPA.
While the industry began with a focus on animal slaughtering, it has now progressed to new sectors such as personal care products, halal logistics and Islamic financial services.
The traceability of the products is becoming increasingly important to the industry, and animal welfare takes a centre stage in the farm-to-fork concept, mentioned several times during the Forum.