It’s moral bullshit that we don’t care how an animal lives, only how it dies | Giles Fraser | Comment is free | The Guardian

I spent an utterly miserable evening watching YouTube videos of the ways in which our meat is slaughtered. They made the whole horror movie slasher genre look very tame fare indeed. Forget halal labelling: if we were going to be fully transparent in our food labelling, it should tell us that this animal was crowded into filthy pens throughout its life, physically crippled by forced growing conditions and then subject to a form of mechanised industrial slaughter that is nothing less than vomit-inducing. Paul McCartney has a point: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarians.”

The whole point of halal meat not being stunned before it is slaughtered is that the animal is supposed to be healthy and well before it is killed. The point about slitting its throat with a sharp blade is that we take personal responsibility for what we are doing. I take it that the point about the animal not being killed in the presence of others is that the process is not one of callous mass production. And the need to mention the name of God (by Muslim, Jew or Christian) while doing this is not some creepy religious ritual but a reminder that all creation, humans included, exist under God’s care.

Secular atheists may not subscribe to the metaphysics, but the idea that all life – human or otherwise – shares some inherent and fundamental connection is a noble position to take (and, no, you cannot catch Islam from halal food). With the exception of Hinduism, the Islamic scriptures are probably the most diligent in insisting upon animal welfare.

I am not saying that current halal practice necessarily lives up to its theological ideals. For this too has become industrialised. But reading the Qur’an carefully, it is perfectly clear that the sort of disgusting mass industrialised food production that is widely practised ought not to be regarded as halal compliant. Most of our animals arrive at slaughterhouses traumatised after months of ill treatment. The idea that we ignore a whole life of misery and then get morally exercised by what happens in the last few moments of an animal’s life is pure moral bullshit.

via It’s moral bullshit that we don’t care how an animal lives, only how it dies | Giles Fraser | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Nepalese women torn between slavery in Lebanon and poverty at home | Global development | theguardian.com

When the 39 Nepalese migrant domestic workers spilled out of the arrivals gate at Kathmandu airport last month, many vowed to return to the country in which they had experienced terrible hardship. Some had been beaten and forced to endure slave-like conditions; the majority had been trafficked.

For years, the women lived illegally in Lebanon, with no means to return home after fleeing abusive employers. The country’s stringent kafala system, which binds migrant staff to their boss, meant that when the women escaped, they lost everything: their legal status, passports and wages.

It was only with the help of a local association, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), as well as the Nepali embassy in Egypt (Nepal does not have an embassy in Lebanon), that the women were eventually able to return to home.

via Nepalese women torn between slavery in Lebanon and poverty at home | Global development | theguardian.com.

Benghazi | Elizabeth Warren for Senate

All three of my brothers served in the military, and I know firsthand how much Americans serving abroad — and their families — sacrifice. What happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 was a tragedy. Four Americans died putting themselves in harm’s way in service to peace, diplomacy, and their country. I look at what happened in Benghazi with sadness, with seriousness, and as yet another call to honor the men and women who keep us safe.

So let me be blunt: that kind of seriousness is sorely missing from the no holds-barred political theater of the House Republicans.

I know a little bit about the way Trey Gowdy pursues oversight. I was on the other end of it when I was setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and I was called to testify before the House. As the Huffington Post reported at the time, Gowdy’s interrogation of me “seemed to lack the basic facts” about the agency he was attempting to oversee. I’d like you to read their reporting on one of these exchanges just so you know what this Benghazi “investigation” is likely to look like:

via Benghazi | Elizabeth Warren for Senate.

Jewish extremists vandalize Jerusalem church | Maan News Agency

Vandals sprayed anti-Christian graffiti on a Jerusalem church on Friday, despite Israeli police stepping up security around religious sites ahead of a visit by Pope Francis later this month.

“Price tag… King David for the Jews… Jesus is garbage” was spray-painted in Hebrew on the wall of St George’s, a Romanian Orthodox church near an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

Israeli police said that “Death to Arabs” was found written on a house in the Old City in East Jerusalem, and swastikas were scrawled on the wall of a west Jerusalem apartment.

via Jewish extremists vandalize Jerusalem church | Maan News Agency.

Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi (H. Res. 567) providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. (H.Res. 575) – GovTrack.us

(Which terrorist attack in Benghazi? There were numerous terrorist attacks in that city with dozens of Libyans wounded and killed, as well as foreigners?The police chief and numerous other government officials have been attacked.

This “investigation” will tell us nothing about how out of control the Benghazi area was and is – it is just looking to lay “blame” at feet of US officials and not with terrorists and will ignore all other killings and violence. And quite simply, there was and is no way that “help” could have gotten there in time to have any effect, even if a US carrier had been offshore. Add to that the refusal to fund increased protection for foreign service personnel by the GOP in the year previous and if there is anyone to blame for US deaths, it would be GOP majority in the House of Representatives!)

 

H.Res. 575: Providing for consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 567) providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.

Introduced:

May 07, 2014 (113th Congress, 2013–2015)

Status:

Agreed To (Simple Resolution)

via Providing for consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 567) providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. (H.Res. 575) – GovTrack.us.