Every time racism seems to have run out of places to hide, national debates inevitably kick aside a stone and reveal a new refuge. One of Britain’s latest tabloid apoplexies has centred on the question, posed by the EU, of whether meat should be labelled with the slaughter method of the animal involved, including dhabihah halal (Muslim) and shechita (Jewish). The Daily Mail informed its readers – The horror! The horror! – that ‘Millions are eating halal food without knowing it.’ Last year, it was the horsemeat scandal that was making The Mail’s readers choke in outrage on their morning bacon.
On 5 November 2012, the ABC TV broadcast its second Four Corners story in two years into animal cruelty in the live export industry. The first report – A Bloody Business, broadcast in May last year – focused on the inhumane treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian abattoirs. Last month’s follow up saw Sarah Ferguson present the results of an investigation into the brutal slaughter of 20,000 sheep at an abattoir in Karachi. Both stories were accompanied by shocking video evidence of the cruelty. The government response to the first report was to temporarily suspend the trade in live export (resumed one month later with stricter regulations). The Another Bloody Business program has seen the voluntary banning of sheep exports into Pakistan by the industry.