Brazil, Saudi, UAE discuss Halal poultry slaughter rules

BRASILIA: Brazil, Saudi Arabia and UAE are discussing the slaughter process, as the deadline approaches for for chicken meat sales from Brazil to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Brazil Arab News Agency (ANBA) quoted the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply as saying that the deadline for meat sales to the two Gulf countries was June 30. Until then Halal poultry sales from Brazil to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will be allowed under the sanitary agreement currently in place. Brazil is negotiating a change in rules and talks are ongoing. Other deadlines had been set in the past.

Meetings on the subject began in late March, when a Brazilian delegation comprising executives from the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA), the International Poultry Council (IPC) and delegates from halal companies travelled to Saudi Arabia to speak with local authorities.

After Saudi Arabia questioned Brazilian slaughter rules, the UAE followed suit, leading to a standoff. Brazilian companies use electric shock to stun chickens prior to slaughter, thereby preventing the animals from flailing while their necks are slit, which leads to poorer quality meat. According to the Saudis, the shock kills the chickens, which are required to be alive when their necks are slit as per halal regulations. Brazilian industry players argue that the animals do not die from the shocks, and that Muslim tradition is not being infringed.

Saudi and the UAE are major buyers of Brazilian poultry. Brazilian Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services numbers compiled by the Arab Chamber show that poultry exports from Brazil fetched USD 293.1 million from January to April this year, down 27.3% from a year ago. Poultry sales to the UAE came out to USD 177.6 million, down 1.5%.