What is Halal Chicken? A Comprehensive Guide for Consumers

Discover the Ethical Preparation of Halal Chicken and Its Impact on Pricing Compared to Regular Options.

what is halal chicken

Halal chicken is becoming more popular not only with Muslims but in general as people consider halal meat as a healthier, safer, and more ethical form of meat.

Chickens are halal if the Islamic laws are followed as per the Qur’an. The process starts when chickens are raised and fed, through to the slaughter, which can only be done by a Muslim person, slaughtered humanely, while praying over the chicken and using a sharp knife to cut the chicken’s throat.

But there is such a debate as to what halal chicken really is and how it is deemed halal. A strict process must be followed to produce chickens, from raising to selling them in-store and keeping them halal. But is halal chicken that much different than regular chicken? We look deeper into the things you need to know about halal chicken.

*We’ve also covered how Kosher, the Jewish food prescription, applies to chicken.

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Halal Chicken And What You Should Know About It

Halal chicken is how poultry is handled, from raising it to the time it is slaughtered and must adhere to Islamic laws of what is halal (lawful or permissible) as defined by the Qur’an.

Halal doesn’t just mean how the animal is slaughtered but also includes how it is fed, raised, transported, and killed. Therefore, even the process after slaughter will determine if the product remains halal.

Halal Chickens Are Raised Humanely

The animals must be raised humanely with no sign of abuse. Muslims believe that life is sacred and a blessing from God. 

The animal must, during its life, have access to fresh air and clean water. The animal’s welfare is paramount, and they must have had a good and happy life to be deemed viable as halal.

Halal Chickens Are Fed Specific Diets

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Chicken must be fed an all-natural vegetarian diet. Many feeds will contain products deemed haram (unlawful or impermissible) as they can contain animal or pork by-products.

To ensure the chicken is 100% halal before going to slaughter, feeding them halal feed free of steroids and growth hormones will ensure the meat is halal.

Poultry must also be free from any antibiotics.

Halal Chickens Are Slaughtered Humanely

Even the slaughtering process is done as humanely as possible. The lives of animals are sacred, and they should be slaughtered in a manner that is as painless as possible.

To Stun Or Not To Stun?

Stunning is a very controversial topic. Stunning can be done if done correctly, where the animal is given a strong enough electrical current that renders it unconscious without killing it before it gets slaughtered.

However, the subject of stunning animals is one of heated debate. For example, many chickens are stunned using water baths; unfortunately, the current applied is only strong enough to immobilize them while they are still fully conscious. 

This mistake is often made to prevent a too strong a current that could potentially kill the chicken before slaughter. Should the chickens die before they are slaughtered, they are deemed as a carcass, and that is, in the views of the Islamic religion, haram.

Research has provided a set voltage that would render the chickens unconscious for a short period, allowing enough time to slaughter them. If this method is done correctly, the animal feels no pain during the process.

In general, the use of stunning is disliked unless it is vital to restraining a violent animal from preventing further harm and pain to itself.

Tools Used For Slaughter

The right tools are also essential in the process of slaughtering chickens or any animal. 

The knife that is used is called a chalaf. It is a perfectly sharp knife free of serrations that should be used to slice the chicken’s throat in one single movement without excessive force. 

Cutting the jugular, trachea, esophagus, and veins should be done in one single movement without lifting and replacing it to the throat.

Who Can Perform Slaughtering?

Only adult Muslims of a sane mind may slaughter animals while invoking a dedication during the slaughter, saying Bismillah Allahu Akbar, meaning In the Name of Allah; Allah is the Greatest.

These people are halal slaughters called juleha, which have had competency training and are certified.

Slaughter Process

Animals should not be allowed to see other animals being slaughtered. This prevents them from becoming scared and stressed.

The chicken’s face should face toward Mecca before it is slaughtered.

The knife should also be hidden until the juleha is ready to slice the animal’s throat, and the blade may not be sharpened in front of the animal.

Once the chickens are slaughtered, they must be drained of blood by hanging upside down, as consuming blood is unlawful.

The birds should also be washed with clean water free of chemicals and bacteria. At the same time, careful care must be taken not to mix chicken parts that are not allowed for consumption with clean meat.

Not All The Chickens Are Halal

Even though the process has been followed and the chicken is considered halal, some parts of the chicken are not permissible and should be removed. Care must be taken when removing these chicken parts so as not to contaminate any of the halal chicken with these parts.

The neck and some internal organs of the chicken are deemed haram, and so is the chicken’s blood, which is why the animal must be drained completely, and the flesh of the chicken washed in salted water.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s The Difference Between Halal Chicken And Regular Chicken?

Halal chicken is how the chicken is raised, fed, and slaughtered, following the Islamic laws set out by the Qur’an.

Although chickens raised to be halal are similar to organic, free-range chickens, the process in which it is slaughtered sets the difference between the regular and halal chicken.

Halal chicken must be slaughtered by a Muslim person that is certified following a strict process of how the animal’s throat must be slit while invoking Bismillah, which means in the name of God.

All living things are considered sacred in the Islamic religion. Therefore, any animals slaughtered for human consumption should be raised and handled humanely. 

What Is Halal Chicken Made Of?

Halal chicken is the same as non-halal chicken. Most of the chicken is considered halal except for some internal organs, the throat, and blood.

You can eat most of the chicken, but the organs that contain traces of blood that have not been washed away are considered haram and are forbidden to be eaten.

  • The slaughtered part of the neck, neck muscles
  • Spleen
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Glands
  • Testicles 
  • Spinal marrow

Why Is Halal Chicken Better?

Halal chicken is considered better because of how the animals are raised and fed. It is a healthier meat as it does not have any hormones and chemicals pumped into it. They are fed a natural vegetarian diet free of animal by-products.

It’s also considered more hygienic as they don’t contain e-coli poisoning and bacteria. The draining of blood also makes for softer meat as there are no traces of blood that could clot.

The way the chicken is slaughtered is quick, severing the carotid arteries and windpipe that cut the blood flow to the nerve in the brain, which is responsible for causing the pain sensation. This process prevents the animal from panicking, which affects the glycogen in the body that is converted into lactic acid, influencing the taste of the meat. 

In general, the meat is much softer with less chance of being chewy because of how the chickens are raised and slaughtered.

Why Is It Called Halal Chicken?

Halal in Islamic culture means that something is permissible or lawful. Islamic laws have strict conditions regarding how chickens are slaughtered, allowing the meat to be permissible for consumption.

Anything not labeled halal has not been produced as per Islamic laws and is considered haram or unlawful.

Conclusion

Next time you are in the supermarket, consider looking for halal-labeled chicken and tasting the difference yourself. Considering how the chickens are bred, raised, fed, and slaughtered, the meat is meant to be a healthier and more hygienic way of consuming meat. It’s also a more humane way of treating animals bred for human consumption.

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