By EDD K. USMAN, SDN, Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910; Facebook: SDN — Science and Digital News
DAVAO CITY (SDN) — EVERY year Muslims celebrate Islam’s only two major festivals, Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha.
The first marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan that involves fasting; the second is the culmination of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
In both celebrations food is a big part as all festivals are, and meat is a main fare, like cow’s, sheep’s, goat’s, especially for Eid’l Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, during which believers of Islam are enjoined to slaughter an animal, of which 1/3 is for the family, 1/3 to neighbors, and 1/3 to the poor and the needy, for “Qurban” (sacrifice).
One cow is from Php40,000 to Php60,000. Sheep is rare in the Philippines. This makes goats, which cost from Php4,500 to Php7,000 per head, most popular for the Qurban.
Though goats are relatively easy to find, Muslims would readily prefer to have a goat raised the halal way. Not easy to find this one, chances are slim and none.
That may soon be a thing of the past, the availability of goats raised the halal way from birth to plate.
It’s because that’s what the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) has been focused on, among other important research and development (R&D) initiatives.
Of course, PCAARRD, headed by Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, executive director, can’t do it alone. Comes partnership with state universities.
The Council partnered with the Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU) in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, and the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato to implement the R&D program to develop protocols for raising goats the halal way.
Ebora added that in 2019 the Council also approved and provided another Php35 million for the program dubbed Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D or NICER — Halal Goat Science and Innovation Center that will run until 2022.
Interested organizations or individuals who are interested in raising halal goats, SKSU and USM already developed the technology in raising halal goats.
The Technology (Protocols in Production and Halal Assurances:
- Strategic grazing of goats in lush pastures for about 2-4 hours a day during sunny days and confined in a pen at night and during inclement weathers.
- Goat pen and grazing areas are far from haram (prohibited) facilities like pig farms, factories, canals and toilets; communal grazing areas are avoided to prevent cross-contamination.
- Halal goat house located in non-waterlogged areas to conform to Zahiba principle of not confining animals in tight spaces.
- Farms equipped with foot bath and hand washing area to avoid entry of possible contaminants.
- Areas for goat production previously used for haram elements to undergo cleansing for two years in accordance with Shar’iah or the Islamic Law.
- A practicing Muslim caretaker hired either as farmhand or production overseer.
- Breeding management where AI (artificial insemination) embryo transfer are acceptable provided the sources of the semen and embryo are also halal goats; also the doe must experience natural mating at least once in her productive life.
- Dehorning and castration prohibited if goat is to be sacrificed during Islamic rites or during Qurban.
- Antibiotics and dewormers permitted provided the ingredients are from halal sources and that a withdrawal period or cleansing of at least seven days prior to slaughter is strictly followed.
- Post-production processes (slaughtering and cutting) following PNS (Philippine National Standard) to embody science along with cleanliness, purification, animal welfare, and oneness with Allah; and,
- Chevon products can be tested or halal authenticity using LAMP-based haram detection kit.
The program came about in response to problems on authenticity plaguing the halal goat industry, thus SKSU and USM researchers developed and tested the halal-compliant protocols on production and halal assurance system, making sure they consulted with Muslim religious leaders and accreditors.
SKSU’s Dr. Ruby F. Hechanova, program leader of the Halal Goat initiative has assured the involvement of Muslim religious leaders in the project.
“Halal principles underpinning these protocols were not just based on religious foundations and good intentions, but the technical aspects of cleanliness, hygiene and good health,” she said.
It means, then, that in determining something being halal, science plays a crucial role. (SDN)
Featured image of celebrity Chef Boy Logro creating a menu of halal goat meat at the Halal Goat FIESTA. (Photo: SDN — Science and Digital News)