Happy Eid al-Adha! A Guide to Where Not to Buy Halal Meat (NSFV – Not Suitable for Vegetarians)


Happy Eid ul-Fitr Eid al-Adha! Last night marked the beginning of Eid, the three-day festival celebrating the end of the Ramadan month of fasting in the Muslim world celebrating the end of Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca.

We stopped by our local halal market last night, the Fertile Crescent, to buy some chicken, where the store was thriving with customers buying their Eid holiday lambs . But even though we’re hardly vegetarians — we’ve bought our Easter lambs and Thanksgiving turkeys (complete with feathers) here for years — we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to even purchase chicken legs here after what we saw.

Despite Brigitte Bardot’s objections, we’ve enjoyed buying halal meat, thinking it was clean like kosher butchering and less likely to be processed.

But the clean aspect of halal was clearly missing at the Fertile Crescent. We’re not particularly squeamish about raw meat, but we must admit, we were a little shocked to see the stacked bodies of dead lambs not behind the meat counter, but out on the floor:

And by out on the floor, we mean on the floor. Look at this lamb’s head, next to a customer’s shoe:

For the holiday rush, the carcasses were stuffed everywhere — racks of lamb stuffed into makeshift shelving units, un-refrigerated, their bloody feet scraping against the walls:

It should have been no surprise, then, to see their innards being handled without gloves:

Moved about without aprons:

And being cut up with neither gloves or protective gear.

It wasn’t surprising to hear a little boy scream “Daddy, they are dinosaurs!” as he took in the many lambs’ bloody forms. Even for a devout carnivore, this may make it a little harder to prepare lamb vindaloo in the future — at least with meat bought from this shop, one of the few places to buy fresh lamb in our neighborhood.

Happy Eid!