In the 1970’s a Canadian in any city would have had a hard time to find halal meat.
The demand for halal food started with an increasing number of Muslim immigrants from Middle Eastern and African countries.
Halal is not solely devoted to food as it translates to lawful or permitted, while “haram” (forbidden) means the opposite, referring to food that devoted Muslims must not consume.
In fact in any Middle Eastern Islamic country you cannot find a butcher shop selling pork or pork products or for that matter any game meat.
All foods are considered halal except pork, and its by-products, improperly slaughtered or dead animals, birds of prey, carnivorous animals, all alcoholic beverages, processed foods containing gelatine, enzymes, emulsifiers and artificial flavours.
All animals must be slaughters by Muslims, and by severing the jugular vein to drain as much blood as possible. In hot climates, blood putrefies rapidly, and Islamic rules were written by Mohammed, the prophet, in what is today Saudi Arabia, namely Mecca.
Fish with scales is accepted as halal. Eel, crustaceans, and bivalves are haram.
In order to be certified halal, all criteria established and verified by Ifanca (Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America) must be met.
You must remember that in the 7th century A D when Islam was born, there was no refrigeration. Even today in some underdeveloped, and even developing countries, chicken vendors sell live animals, and after weighing, slaughter and pluck it. The same is true for lamb, but not for beef, and it is unpopular in any case.
Generally, halal butchers buy their carcasses from licensed slaughter houses, and display them in huge glass-walled refrigerators for customers to select the cut they want and then prepare it the way required.
Any major city with a large enough Muslim population as now halal butcher shops and even grocery stores that stock herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits that western consumers seldom buy.