Subway’s Stunning Decision

Recently, I wrote about Subway in the UK and their decision to offer only Muslim-accepted sandwiches. Marmoe noted that I incorrectly referred to “all” Subway stores in the UK. It wasn’t all of them, and is apparently a decision that Subway makes, store-by-store, based upon how much pressure they receive from Muslims. I apologize for the error. Some details follow:This practice dates back to 2007, according to this Daily Mail article (with obnoxious ads, cookies and delayed auto-start sound). It affects about 200 stores in the UK, but Subway has been extending this to other areas. In addition to Ireland, they are also banning all non-Muslim-approved foods in at least some Netherlands stores and this practice is probably spreading as Islamic immigration into northern Europe continues to grow.

There is a Snopes article on this, with even more obnoxious ads, dozens of cookie attempts, and a popup/delated-start sound blasts. Snopes notes that there are a few Kosher franchises in the US, which serve only Kosher foods. This could be considered analogous, certainly — with the distinction that Jewish diners don’t threaten to kill you if you happen to offend them. That distinction seems notable to me.

To Stun or Not to Stun

But there’s an interesting aspect to the Subway store practices that certainly makes for confusing reading  in the original Daily Mail article from a week ago. Halal rules, in the minds of most Islamic scholars, call for killing the animal while it is fully conscious. The laws in the UK forbid this, of course … unless the butcher is Muslim. They get a special exception.

And yet, the Subway chain is apparently using halal (Muslim-approved) meats done by the Muslim butchers that don’t follow the standard practice, and stun the animals prior to slaughtering them. Parts of the article could almost be read to suggest that only Muslims use humane practices, which is ridiculous and mostly reversed from reality.

Consider how you would interpret this bit:

In non-halal abattoirs, livestock are stunned before killing to prevent any unnecessary suffering.

Some halal butchers also practise pre-stunning, though it is not permitted by some Islamic scholars.

In Britain, killing an animal without prior stunning is illegal, but the law gives special exemption to Muslim and Jewish meat producers on the grounds of religion.

There are thought to be around 12 abattoirs dedicated to unstunned slaughter in the UK, while hundreds practise stunned halal slaughter.

A Subway spokeswoman told MailOnline all halal meat served in the participating branches is from animals who were stunned prior to slaughter.

Counting Butchers, Stores and Votes

The odd part is the contrasting of “some Halal butchers,” which sounds like a minority of them, with the “12” versus “hundreds” formulation, which suggests that they are in the majority. Elsewhere in the article, these “hundreds” are said to amount to 90%, which also doesn’t jive with only 12 which do not stun.

But in any event, it seems to me that any organization should be free to offer for sale anything lawful — but that they should not be compelled to do so, by threats nor by law. Subway has clearly received threats. So far, it does not seem that they are forced by law. Under Sharia’h law, which the UK is increasingly and incrementally adopting, they will be. Then, it would be 100% of their 1,500 or so stores, not the current 12%.

I note in the comments that the suggestions of boycotting Subway received thousands of “up votes.” These numbers are ten to twenty times the negative votes. Interesting.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • *chuckle*

    Different threat levels, I’d think. “We’ll do more business with you” on the kosher side versus “We’ll kill you if you don’t comply” from the other.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • So what’s the difference from Kosher ?
    Different priests ?