Religion And Regulation: Kosher, Halal, And Hindu Veg
The proliferation of vegetarian and vegan diets around the world is a food trend that has been good news for animal advocates. One aspect of that trend which hasn’t been explored in great detail is the role that kosher, halal, and hindu diets contribute to it or reinforce it. For example, in 2012 McDonald’s opened its first vegetarian restaurant in India, and in 2011, India made it mandatory that vegetarian food “must bear a ‘green mark’ to indicate that products are wholly vegetarian.” This paper explores how “religious economies are being governed and the effect of these efforts for the marketplace and consumers,” and looks at this phenomenon on three levels: regulation by state and “no-state certifiers,” the marketplace, and consumption.
The study finds there is a tension between these religious practices of diet control and the regulatory mechanisms that will certify them, and this tension varies from state to state. The author notes that “in Singapore, Malaysia, Israel and India religious economies and markets are inseparable from the way in which religions more generally are regulated by the state,” though they also note that these forms of religious regulatory practice also reach into other “secular settings around the globe.” For animal advocates, this paper highlights the parallels as well as the disconnect between regulation and religion, something that will become increasingly important to consider as these diets continue an upward trend.