Listen to the story here.

Kai Ryssdal: The second night of Passover begins at sundown this evening. Families are going to be gathering for their Seder — part meal, part ritual that recounts the Biblical story of the Jews’ exodus out of Egypt. Brisket is going to be on a lot of dining room tables. And in observant homes, it’s going to be kosher.

Observant Muslims have dietary laws that are similar to kosher, they’re called halal. And that has made for at least one interesting business proposition.

Ari Daniel Shapiro has the story.

[Cow mooing]

Ari Daniel Shapiro: Devora Kimelman-Block and Yasir Syeed walk along the muddy pasture of this farm tucked into the hills of southeastern Pennsylvania. It’s one of about 10 farms they contract with to provide sustainably raised beef, lamb and poultry.

Devora Kimelman-Block: I don’t think either one of us thought we’d run a meat business when we grew up, but you know, we saw a niche and we’re filling it.

Kimelman-Block’s provides kosher meat through her business KOL Foods. And Syeed’s company, Green Zabiha, sells halal products ranging from chicken thighs to lamb roast.

Kosher and halal refer to practices and blessings that govern the slaughter of animals. The pair say most animals that become kosher and halal meat are raised on cramped factory farms with little thought paid to their well-being while they’re alive. For them, the industrialized approach undermines the intent of their religious dietary laws.

Yasir Syeed: The idea about halal and kosher: It’s not just, OK, was it cut the right way? Was the right thing said? Those are important too. But the whole spirit behind both of them is that when you’re taking this animal’s life, you’re doing it in a way that’s with dignity and with mercy. You also have to make sure that the whole life that it lived, also, is one that had dignity and mercy. And in a farm like this, I mean, the animals, they’re treated practically like family. (More)


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