News / USA

Local US Farmers Cater to Muslim Traditions

A goat slaughtered according to the Halal tradition at Joe Kavanagh's farm in Mount Airy, Maryland
A goat slaughtered according to the Halal tradition at Joe Kavanagh's farm in Mount Airy, Maryland

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

Many Muslim-Americans have often had difficulty finding Halal-certified meat, or meat slaughtered in according to Islamic tradition, in their local grocery stores.  Sometimes, they have resorted to buying whole goats or lambs on farms and slaughtering them on-site themselves, in accordance with tradition.  But this is illegal in many parts of the United States.  Realizing the growing Muslim market in the U.S., some American farmers are opening legal halal-certified slaughterhouses with great success.

After 37 years of working with livestock on other people's farms, Joe Kavanagh decided to open a slaughterhouse on his own farm with a unique clientele in mind.

Part of his business is catering to Muslims, who want to buy meat from animals they know have been slaughtered in accordance with the Islamic tradition of halal.

"My youngest sister is married to a Kuwaiti Muslim," said Joe Kavanagh, owner of Lambco. "And, we had talked about it over the years.  There is a lot of, well we call them 'back woods' operations in America where people go and get lambs and goats and stuff like that.  I just wanted to do something for the rest of my life and not have to look over my shoulders and hold my breath when I did it."

WARNING: This Video Contains Graphic Images

The "back woods" operations, as Joe calls them, are illegal in this part of rural Maryland, and rarely clean or sanitary.  Joe saw an opportunity to build a legally-certified slaughterhouse that catered to the Muslim community.

His facility called Lambco LLC,  is built in accordance with U.S. Department of Agriculture safety and sanitary standards.

Most of his business is with a large national grocery store chain, but he also sells to individuals.  And with more than 800,000 Muslims in the Baltimore-Washington area, he says business is growing every month.  

One of Joe's customers, Syed Wagar Farhat, is from Pakistan.  He has been slaughtering animals the halal way since he was a young boy.

"When we slaughter, we slaughter with the knife and we cut like half throat and we have to read some verses of our holy book, Koran," said Syed Wagar Farhat.

Traditional U.S. slaughterhouses shoot animals in the head with a stun-gun, causing brain trauma.  Then they hoist the animals up and bleed them out.  The Islamic way is to hold the animal down with its head pointed toward Mecca.

As the person performing the ritual recites the Koran, he makes a quick cut to the main arteries in the neck. The animal bleeds out, and slowly loses consciousness.  According to the Koran, this should be done as humanely as possible.

"This way, all the air when he breathe, all the air will go in, and all the blood will come out," explained Farhat. "So there will be no blood in his tissues and muscles."

Joe Kavanagh says the most difficult thing about starting his business was working through all the county, state, and federal health regulations.

"You would have thought I was building a nuclear reactor down here and getting water out of the creek," he said.

His facility is inspected regularly, and he is often complimented on its cleanliness - something that is not lost on customers like Farhat who used to frequent some of the illegal operations.

"We used to go to some farms and they didn't have a slaughter house," Farhat said. "We had to slaughter by the trees where we can have a lot of mosquitoes and insects."

For Joe Kavanagh, working with the Muslim community is good business.  Farhat leaves with peace of mind.  The goat meat will last his family for a month.  He knows the facility was clean, the animal was healthy and was slaughtered in accordance with Islamic tradition.  

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid