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First halal abattoir set for Finland

Finland is soon to have its first halal abattoir, which will be constructed in the Satakunta town of Kankaanpää. The initial goal is to slaughter some 10,000 lambs per year.

Halal-lihaa Idän Basaarin lihatiskillä
Halal meat Image: Devy Nagalingam / Yle

A halal mutton slaughterhouse is to be erected in Finland in order to meet the growing demand for meat produced according to Muslim traditions. The project is led by two Helsinki brothers with roots in Iraq, and they have already scoped out a possible location: Kankaanpää in the south-western region of Satakunta.

They noticed that although halal meat is sold to Finland’s burgeoning Muslim population, it comes from abroad.

"Money flows out of Finland all the time because of this halal slaughter," said Karrar al-Hello, one of the men behind the project. "Halal slaughter could be carried out in Finland too, as we have very healthy lambs here."

Stunned under Finnish law

Al-Hello says that the abattoir will operate according to Finnish legislation on meat production, as the animals will be stunned before they are killed. Halal meat is often produced from animals who are not stunned, but in Finnish halal production the only difference will be in the ritual.

The butcher will be a Muslim who can bless the animals before turning them towards Mecca and slitting their throats.

The halal slaughterhouse has been planned for many years, but the idea has been slowed down by prejudice according to al-Hello.

"Sheep farmers have had preconceptions about halal slaughter, as they didn’t really know what it is," said al-Hello. "Now in the lamb farmers’ association and among lamb farmers it’s said that we’re offering a contract that sounds good and safe."

Al-Hello says that his operation will begin slaughtering animals next year.

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