In England they did a study on the “Doner kebab” (or in Americanese we would call it a Gyro) and found that as well as being incredibly unhealthy:
Six kebabs were found to include pork when it had not been declared as an ingredient, of which two were described as Halal. (source)
Ouch. I’ll be up-front, I don’t restrict myself to “zabiha halal” when I’m in the states because of this reason; its expensive, its hard to find, and you can never be entirely sure- unless you butcher it yourself- that it is actually zabiha. Case in point I know of a small pizza and chicken wings place off of Larpenteur and Rice St in St Paul (for my fellow paisanos its the shop next to Club Kristal) that had been originally owned by Muslims and the food was labelled as “halal” and “zabiha” so I knew of a number of Muslims who would eat pepperoni pizza there because it was halal. The shop changed hands to some Mexicans who I was friends with, of which one of them was Muslim and the rest were not, they co-oped, kicked the one Muslim out, and stopped buying the meat “zabiha.” Heck, they may have even started buying pork products by now as they are not constricted by their religion, and yet in the window and on the menus it still said “zabiha halal” and Muslims were still coming in to buy food (last time I was there.)
So, really, there’s no way of knowing unless you are butchering the animals yourself.
Moving on but still talking about animals…
There was a small ray of hope for me today in terms of Cairo not being all hate and corruption: puppies. Those of you who have been to or live in Cairo know that it is liberally populated by feral dogs and cats so seeing animals starving in the streets is a daily occurence. Two days ago I noticed a couple of new puppies living in an abandoned lot near my house. They are very young and extremely emaciated, you can count all of their ribs and vertibrae from 5 feet away. Every morning I see them and my heart breaks a little wishing I could adopt them and feed them but knowing that I cannot and that I don’t really have any food I could give them, I have to walk on by knowing that they probably won’t survive. This morning I was greeted by the sight of a pile of shredded bread left at the gate of the abandoned lot for them and them wolfing it down like the hungry little wolves they are. Humanity strikes again. There are some warm hearts left in this cold world.