It says in the Quran: “To every people have We appointed rites (of sacrifice) that they might celebrate the name of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from animals (fit for food)…” (Surah Al Hajj 18: 34)
Here are a few points in addition to the above:
• Eating meat is optional and it is perfectly acceptable for someone to choose to be a vegetarian
• Historically, many people ate meat products around the word including those who are largely vegetarian now, such as in India
• Muslims, like Christians and Jews, believe in Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) PBUH and the stories are very similar. The story related to the sacrifice on the Eid celebration (Eid Al Adha /Celebration of the Sacrifice), which coincides with the Hajj /Pilgrimage, is actually related to following the teachings of Prophet Ibrahim PBUH when he was ordered to sacrifice his son. This story is mentioned in the Quran:
102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!”
103. So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),
104. We called out to him “O Abraham!
105. “Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” – thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
106. For this was obviously a trial-
107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:
108. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:
(Surah Al Safaat 102-108)
• Too much of anything is not good, whether it is too much chocolate, too much sugar, too much salt or other things such as too much meat so people need to have a balanced diet
• Even today it is easy to see that many people eat meat products such as during celebrations. Examples include American Thanksgiving Day and Christmas in the UK, where they eat a turkey
• It is permissible in Islam to slaughter and eat certain animals but not to kill them purely for entertainment such as bull fighting or fox hunting
• People can be rewarded or punished based on how they treat animals. Here are two examples from the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet PBUH): The Prophet said, “A woman entered the (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she had tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” (Bukhari 3318); Allah’s Messenger PBUH said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.” (Bukhari 3321)
• People have different ways of slaughtering animals according to religious doctrines. An example of this is how many Jewish people eat Kosher meat in a somewhat similar way to how Muslims have Halal meat
• Some people might see the method of slaughtering as harsh as they can see blood, but under normal circumstances not everyone can see blood
• Draining the blood out and washing it can help to clean the meat before cooking in a somewhat similar way to how someone might wash a wound before applying a bandage. It can also help the meat to last longer as there are fewer germs when there is no blood
• While it might appear that the animal is in pain as it is slaughtered, the sensory nerves are cut to ensure that there is no pain
• Some people might feel that it is harsh to slaughter animals to eat them and that it is acceptable to cut plants and eat them as they do not feel pain and /or do not have a central nervous system. However, people have conducted studies and have found that plants also feel pain. Also, not everyone has all their senses such as someone who is blind, someone who has spinal injury so cannot feel anything and more. If someone decides to kill them, does it make it a less of a crime because they have fewer senses?