The Feds have stepped up their game in the Midamar prosecution, initially discussed here, by indicting more defendants and providing more detail in the new indictment as to the nature of the alleged activities. The initial indictment charged William Aossey Jr. with falsely stating on export certificates that meat had been slaughtered in a Halal-certified slaughterhouse.
The new indictment adds Mr. Aossey’s sons and Midamar itself. Based on comments we received from Midamar to our original post, it appeared that a central part of Midamar’s argument was that even if the meat was not slaughtered in Halal-certified slaughterhouses, the meat was still Halal meat as represented by the company.
The facts set forth in the new indictment seem to be directly aimed at this argument, going into the specific ways in which the slaughtered meat did not comport with the Halal standards that Midamar detailed on its own website. The non-Halal practices detailed in the indictment included: (a) the use of penetrative stun guns to kill animals, (b) the slaughter of cattle by slaughtermen that were not Muslim, and (c) the slaughter of cattle without the recitation of the requisite prayers. These non-Halal practices rendered false, according to the Government’s theory, the statements on export certificates that the meat complied with the requirements of the importing countries, all of which required that such meat be Halal.
In addition to my discomfort with the prosecutor’s delving so deeply into the religious matter of what is and isn’t Halal slaughter, it seems that there is little evidence that the defendants knew that the slaughterhouses were not always complying with the letter of Muslim religious practice. The only evidence in this regard mentioned in the indictment is the relabeling of meat by Midamar employees to indicate that the meat in question came from a slaughterhouse other than the one from which the meat actually came. Above and beyond that, you have to wonder why the U.S. government is expending such considerable resources to prosecute a case which ultimately deals with whether cows were slaughtered by Muslims while reciting specified ritual prayers.