A SUNSHINE Coast dairy farm has created a social media storm after saying an emphatic no to Australia's $10 billion halal certification industry.
Maleny Dairies posted on Facebook on November 2 that the certification catering for Muslim consumers was 'not for us'.
"There has been a lot of talk around this issue recently and we have received many enquiries from customers concerned that we may go down this route,'' the post said.
"The answer is NO we are not Halal Certified nor will we go down this path.
"We do not wish to increase the costs of our products to cover the expense of Halal Certification.
"We prefer to make sure our local farmers receive a fair and sustainable price for their milk.
"We are working with nine local dairy farming families right here on the Sunny Coast and this is where the money stays. Thanks for your continued support.''
The post was given almost 40,000 likes, shared by more than 4400 people and then sparked a storm of comments - both against halal certification and in favour.
Many Australians have questioned why producers have to pay extra costs to get certified for a minority of consumers.
But supporters say halal certification makes good business sense for Australian businesses as it opens up a massive export market to the north, particularly in places like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East.
Halal industry supporter Ahmed Kilani denied claims the Australian money was being directed to fund terrorism activities overseas, saying the industry was highly regulated.
He said the vast majority of companies involved in certification were 'not for profit' organisations which fund community aged care, schools, and local charities.
"The halal industry in Australia is worth $10 billion and employs tens of thousands of Australians,'' he told ABC Coast FM on Thursday.
"It's been a great success story.
"It saddens me when people try to tear it down on false information.''
He said the funding obviously was directed to Islamic communities but also went to help out the wider community in Australia.
Mr Kilani said it would be 'impossible' for Australian funds to go towards terrorism.
"Everything is very heavily monitored and very heavily scrutinised,'' he said.
"There have been a lot of accusations over the years but I don't think there has been one proven case of money going to fund terrorism anywhere.''
"It's just become one of those furphies which is just spun around all the time.''
Mr Kilani said it was 'ridiculous' to suggest that Halal certification added too many extra costs to consumers.
He gave the example of where certification for a cow to be slaughtered according to Muslim customs might cost an extra 50 cents per cow.
There have been reports Queensland abattoirs are charged up to $27,000 a month for their certification.
Mr Kilani confirmed halal certification in Australia required meat to be slaughtered by a Muslim.
Countries like the Middle East, Malaysia and Indonesia regularly send auditors and inspectors to Australia to ensure Muslim standards are met.
According to the RSPCA, in Australia, the national standard for meat production requires that all animals must be effectively stunned (unconscious) prior to slaughter.
"The vast majority of halal slaughter in Australia complies with this standard, that is, all animals are stunned prior to slaughter.
"The only difference is that a reversible stunning method is used, while conventional humane slaughter may use an irreversible stunning method "
"Halal slaughter in overseas abattoirs often does not include stunning.''
Mr Kilani said halal certification had started in Australia in the 1970s but had only recently had attracted adverse publicity.
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