Friday, November 9, 2018


Parked here for future reference:

Benaderet's Cigarette, Pipe and Tobacco Shop
215 Sutter Street
[Formerly at 566 California Street]
San Francisco.

Owners: Robert and Edith Rashaw
Robert Rashaw: born 1916.
Edith Edna Rashaw: born 1916.

Store still extant in the late seventies. No longer there by the eighties.
At one point, they had Egyptian cigarettes made for them.
Their house pipes were usually by Comoys.
There are also Benaderet Sasienis.
More research required.

Quote: "Benaderet's Inc., was California's oldest pipe and tobacco store when it went out of business in 1980. Sam Benaderet was a tobacconist from New York City who came to San Francisco in 1915 to work at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. An immigrant to the United States from Turkey, Mr. Benaderet decided that he liked the West Coast's Mediterranean like climate. After the Exposition closed, he stayed to open his own tobacco business. This new firm produced custom private-label cigarettes for men's clubs. A lavish retail store was opened in the late 1920's that quickly became a mecca for tobacco connoisseurs."

Note: I often bought tobacco there when I was in college.

Saturday, September 8, 2018


On September 11, the Marin County Board of Supervisors (BOS) will introduce an ordinance to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the unincorporated areas of the county.  The ban includes menthol, mint and wintergreen.  There are no exceptions for adult only retail tobacco stores. 
In addition, the draft ordinance does not specify a penalty regime, leaving the development and adoption of rules and regulations to the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Of note, in the findings clauses on page 3, please see the highlighted language regarding mint and wintergreen. 

Marin County BOS Meeting Details:
--date / September 11
--time / 9:30 A.M.
--location / Board of Supervisors Chambers, Room 330, Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA  94903
Retailers and industry stakeholders should contact county supervisors to express opposition the flavor ban.

Marin County Board of Supervisors

Damon Connolly
District 1
(415) 473-7354

Katie Rice
District 2
(415) 473-7331

Kate Sears
District 3
(415) 473-7331

Dennis Rodoni
District 4
(415) 473-7331

Judy Arnold
District 5
(415) 473-7331

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Report on the visit to the McAllen holding facility.

Begin cite:

Elizabeth Warren
June 26 at 14:30 ·

Sunday morning, I flew to McAllen, Texas to find out what's really happening to immigrant families ripped apart by the Trump administration.

There's one thing that's very clear: The crisis at our border isn't over.

I went straight from the airport to the McAllen Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing center that is the epicenter of Donald Trump's so-called "zero-tolerance" policy. This is where border patrol brings undocumented migrants for intake before they are either released, deported, turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or, in the case of unaccompanied or separated children, placed in the custody of Health and Human Services.

From the outside, the CBP processing center looks like any other warehouse on a commercial street lined with warehouses. There's no clue about the horrors inside.

Before we could get in, CBP insisted we had to watch a government propaganda video. There's no other way to describe it – it's like a movie trailer. It was full of dramatic narration about the "illegals" crossing our border, complete with gory pictures about the threats that these immigrants bring to the United States, from gangs to skin rashes. The star of the show is CBP, which, according to the video, has done a great job driving down the numbers.

Then an employee described what we were about to see. "They have separate pods. I'll call them pods. I don't really know how they name them." Clearly they had gotten the memo not to call them what they are: cages. Every question I asked them had a complicated answer that led to two more questions – even the simple question about how long people were held there. "Nobody is here longer than 24 hours." "Well, maybe 24-48 hours." "72 hours max." And "no children are separated out." "Well, except older children."

The warehouse is enormous, with a solid concrete floor and a high roof. It is filled with cages. Cages for men. Cages for women. Cages for mamas with babies. Cages for girls. Cages for boys.

The stench – body odor and fear – hits the second the door is opened. The first cages are full of men. The chain link is about 12-15 feet high, and the men are tightly packed. I don't think they could all lie down at the same time. There's a toilet at the back of the cage behind a half-wall, but no place to shower or wash up. One man kept shouting, "A shower, please. Just a shower."

I asked the men held in cage after cage where they were from. Nearly all of them were from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras.

Then I asked them how long they had been there – and the answers were all over the map, from a few days to nearly two weeks (72 hours max?). The CBP agents rushed to correct the detained men, claiming that their answers couldn't be right. My immigration specialist on the trip who speaks fluent Spanish made sure the men understood that the question was, "How long have you been in the building?" Their answers didn't change.

Cage after cage. Same questions, same answers.

Next we came into the area where the children were held. These cages were bigger with far more people. In the center of the cage, there's a freestanding guard tower probably a story or story-and-a-half taller to look down over the children. The girls are held separately in their own large cage. The children told us that they had come to the United States with family and didn't know where they had been taken. Eleven years old. Twelve. Locked in a cage with strangers. Many hadn't talked to their mothers or fathers. They didn't know where they were or what would happen to them next.
The children were quiet. Early afternoon, and they just sat. Some were on thin mats with foil blankets pulled over their heads. They had nothing – no books, no toys, no games. They looked shell shocked.

And then there were the large cages with women and small children. Women breast-feeding their young children.

When we went over to the mamas with babies, I asked them about why they had left their home countries. One young mother had a 4-year-old child. She said she had been threatened by the gangs in El Salvador. She had given a drink of water to a police officer, and the gang decided she must be in with the police. The longer she spoke, the more agitated she got – that she would never do that, that she understood the risk with the gangs, but that the gangs believed she did it. She sold everything she had and fled with her son to the United States.

One thing you won't see much of in the CBP processing center? Fathers caged with their children. After pressing the CBP agents, they explained that men traveling with children are automatically released from the facility. They just don't have the cages there to hold them. Women with small children, on the other hand, could be detained indefinitely. I pressed them on this again and again. The only answer: they claimed to be protecting "the safety of the mother and children."

CBP said that fathers with children, pregnant women, mothers of children with special needs, and other "lucky ones" who are released from the processing center are sent over to Catholic Charities' Humanitarian Respite Center for help. That was my next stop in McAllen. Sister Norma, her staff, and volunteers are truly doing God's work. Catholic Charities provides food, a shower, clean clothes, and medicine to those who need it. The center tries to explain the complicated process to the people, and the volunteers help them get on a bus to a family member in the United States.

Sister Norma introduced me to a father and his teenage son from Honduras. The father said that a gang had been after his son, determined that the boy would join the gang. The only way for the boy to escape was to run. The man left his wife and four daughters in Honduras to bring his son to the United States. His only plan is to find work here to send money home to his family. His cousin lives in New Jersey, so CBP sent their paperwork to the local ICE center in New Jersey, and they would soon begin the long bus ride there.

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley provides a lifesaving service to people of all faiths and backgrounds, but with a humanitarian crisis in their backyard, they're clearly stretched as thin as it gets. With more money and volunteers, they would gladly help more people.

I asked Sister Norma about the women and babies who were in indefinite detention. She said her group would open their arms and take care of them, get them cleaned up and fed and on a bus to a family member – if only ICE would release them.

"This is a moral issue. We are all part of this human family," they say.

Next, I met with some of the legal experts on the frontlines of this crisis – lawyers from the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Border Rights Center of the Texas ACLU, and the federal public defenders.

I gave them a rundown of everything I'd seen so far in McAllen, particularly when it comes to reuniting parents and children, and they raised some of my worst fears:

The Trump administration may be "reunifying" families, but their definition of a family is only a parent and a child. If, for example, a 9-year-old crosses with an 18-year-old sister – or an aunt or uncle, or a grandparent, or anyone who isn't the child's documented legal guardian – they are not counted as a family and they will be separated.

Mothers and children may be considered "together" if they're held in the same gigantic facility, even if they're locked in separate cages with no access to one another. (In the world of CBP and ICE, that's how the 10-year-old girls locked in a giant cage are "not separated" from their mothers who are in cages elsewhere in the facility.)

In the process of "reunifying" families, the government may possibly count a family as reunited by sending the child to a distant relative they've never met – not their parents. Some relatives may be unwilling to claim these children because it would be inviting ICE to investigate their own families.

Parents are so desperate to be reunited with their children that they may be trading in their legal right to asylum.

The system for tracking separated families is virtually unknown, if one exists at all. One expert worries that for some families, just a simple photo may be all the documentation that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services have to reunite them. (I sincerely hope that's not true.)

The longer the day went on, the more questions I had about how the Trump administration plans to fix the crisis they've created at the border. So my last stop of the day was at the Port Isabel Detention Center, about an hour east of McAllen. It's one of the largest detention facilities in Texas.

The Department of Homeland Security had released some details on its plan to reunify families. The release noted that Port Isabel will be the "primary family reunification and removal center for adults in their custody."

Let's be clear: Port Isabel isn't a reunification center. It's a detention center. A prison.

There's no ambiguity on this point. I met with the head of the facility. He said several times that they had no space for children, no way to care for them, and no plans to bring any children to his locked-down complex. When I pressed on what was the plan for reunification of children with their parents, he speculated that HHS (the Department of Health and Human Services) would take the children somewhere, but it certainly wasn't going to be to his facility. When I asked how long HHS would take, he speculated that it would be weeks, but he said that was up to them. He had his job to do: He would hold these mothers and fathers until he received orders to send them somewhere else. Period.

So let me say it again. This is a prison – not a reunification center.

We toured the center. It is huge – multiple buildings isolated on a sun-baked expanse of land far from any town. We didn't go to the men's area, but the women are held in a large bunk-bed facility with a concrete outdoor exercise area. It's locked, double-locked, and triple locked. Tall fences topped with razor wire are everywhere, each backed up by a second row of fences also topped with razor wire.

An ICE official brought in a group of nine detained mothers who had volunteered to speak to us. I don't believe that ICE cherry-picked these women for the meeting, because everything they told me was horrifying.

Each mother told us her own story about crossing the border, being taken to a processing center, and the point that they were separated from their child or children. In every case, the government had lied to them about where their children were being taken. In every case, save one, no mother had spoken to her child in the days since the separation. And in every case, no mother knew where her child was.

At the time of separation, most of the mothers were told their children would be back. One woman had been held at "the icebox," a center that has earned its nickname for being extremely cold. When the agent came to take her child, she was told that it was just too cold for the child in the center, and that they were just going to keep the child warm until she was transferred. That was mid-June. She hasn't seen her child since.

One mother had been detained with her child. They were sleeping together on the floor of one of the cages, when, at 3:00am, the guards took her away. She last saw her 7-year-old son sleeping on the floor. She cried over and over, "I never got to say goodbye. I never got to say goodbye." That was early-June, and she hasn't seen him since.

Even though the CBP officials at the processing center told me that mothers with children that have special needs would be released, one of the mothers I spoke with had been separated from her special needs child. She talked about her child who doesn't have properly formed legs and feet and walks with great difficulty. One of the mothers spoke of another mother in the facility who is very worried because her separated child is deaf and doesn't speak at all.

The women I met were traumatized, weeping, and begging for help. They don't understand what is happening to them – and they're begging to be reunited with their kids.

Detainees can pay to make phone calls, but all of their possessions are taken from them at the processing center. The only way they can get money for a call is for someone to put money on their accounts. I asked if people or charities could donate money so that they'd be able to make phone calls to their family or lawyers, but they said no – a donor would need the individual ID number for every person detained at the center, and ICE obviously isn't going to release that information.

Three young lawyers were at Port Isabel at the same time we were. The lawyers told us that their clients – the people they've spoken to in the detention center – have strong and credible cases for asylum. But the entire process for being granted asylum depends on one phone call with an immigration official where they make the case for why they should be allowed to stay. One of the first questions a mother will be asked is, "Have you been separated from a child?" For some of the women, just asking that question makes them fall apart and weep.

The lawyers are worried that these women are in such a fragile and fractured state, they're in no shape to make the kind of detailed, credible case needed for themselves or their children. They had no chance in our system because they've lost their children and desperately want them back.

We stayed inside at Port Isabel for more than two hours – much longer than the 45 minutes we had been promised. When I finally went to bed that night, I thought about something the mothers had told me – something that will likely haunt me for a long time.

The mothers say that they can hear babies cry at night.

This isn't about politics. This isn't about Democrats or Republicans. This is about human beings. Children held in cages today. Babies scattered all over this country. And mamas who, in the dark of night, hear them cry.

I'm still working through everything I saw, but I wanted you to know the full story. The fight for these children and families isn't over – not by a long shot.

[End cite]


Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Here, lifted from Tobacconist, (the official publication of the IPCPR since 1990), is an article explaining what happened to McClelland Tobacco Company earlier this year, and why they no longer exist.

Begin cite:


By Larry Wagner
May 1, 2018

Pipe smokers around the world are in mourning after McClelland Tobacco announced in February that it would cease production of its world-class Virginia and Oriental pipe tobacco blends, effectively ending 40 years of creating some of the finest smoking tobaccos ever produced.

McClelland was founded in 1977 by Carl and Mary Ehwa and their partner Bob Benish. At the time, Carl and Bob had been working for Diebel’s, a well-known tobacconist in Kansas City, Missouri. “Carl had developed blends for Diebel, and Fred Diebel had purchased factory equipment,” recalls Mary. “I think that was in 1969. By 1977, Carl wanted to create more blends than Diebel was interested in. So there was a friendly parting, and McClelland began.”

The new brand was initially introduced in 10 blends: five Oriental mixtures and five matured Virginias. The concept was very much in the style of the vaunted Scottish brand Rattray’s, which utilized matured Virginia, as opposed to the bright Virginia typically used in English mixtures. For many American pipe smokers, McClelland picked up the mantle of Scottish-style tobaccos when Rattray’s was purchased and moved to Germany. While following in the footsteps of Rattray’s may not have been the impetus for launching the McClelland brand, Mary recalls, “We thought the blends had changed. The Rattray’s blends were very popular at Diebel’s because Carl and Bob liked them so much. I’m not sure we realized Rattray’s had been moved to Germany at that time.”

The McClelland brand was immediately recognized for its distinctive embossed labeling—brown for Virginias and green for Orientals—as well as for its painstakingly crafted aged tobaccos. McClelland quickly set a new standard for rich, complex tobacco blends, which imparted the unique tang and natural sweetness only matured Virginia can offer. Pipe smokers noticed.
Within a few years, McClelland Tobacco could be found on the shelves of most serious tobacconists nationwide. Mike McNiel, who had also worked for Diebel’s, joined the team in 1980, when Bob left to pursue other options. The three partners worked side by side, perfecting the art of blending and aging fine tobaccos. Then, tragically, in 1982, Carl suffered an aneurysm and did not return to the business. He later passed away at age 50.

Throughout that difficult period, the company continued to grow at a gradual, methodical pace. Eventually, Mary and longtime colleague Mike were married, creating a personal and professional partnership that was able to move forward the vision of the boutique manufacturer and to expand on the initial offerings. Owing to their devotion to quality and quest for perfection, the company was in no hurry to bring new blends to the market. As Mary stated emphatically, “It has to be excellent.” They began to produce a full line of bulk tobaccos, initially Virginias and Oriental mixtures, then adding premium-grade aromatics, allowing tobacconists to offer McClelland-quality private-label tobaccos to their customers.

In time, as the right tobaccos were presented to them, the McNiels introduced a new series. In 1992, McClelland brought out its first new tinned blends: Dominican Glory, a matured Virginia incorporating aged cigar leaf, and Christmas Cheer, a perennial favorite that changed each season. The early 1990s also saw private-label tinning, initially for Nat Sherman and Barry Levin. Levin Pipes closed after Levin’s passing in 1994, and a year later McClelland released the Personal Reserve series, making widely available the blends that had been created exclusively for Levin Pipes International.

My husband Mike is the heart of McClelland. And he goes to such extreme lengths to make sure that everything is just right. And we’re a small company. There’s no way a larger company would go to the same lengths to do this, to produce this type of product. They wouldn’t have our level of obsession.”

McClelland then launched an ambitious project to produce innovative proprietary blends with its Craftsbury series. Most notable among them was Frog Morton, a moist, soft-smoking Latakia mixture that managed to combine its subtle smokiness with an alluring fragrant quality. Frog Morton became the go-to mixture for introducing smokers of aromatic tobacco to the more sophisticated Latakia mixtures. Later releases would include Blakeney’s Best, Grand Orientals, Syrian Latakia blends, Master Penman and others too numerous to list here. In all, by the end of its tenure, McClelland’s tobacco blends included more than 240 varieties.

With such a long history of excellence and universal acclaim, one might wonder what could have persuaded the McNiels to discontinue the brand and cease production.

In our view, it’s kind of a perfect storm, what happened in the tobacco business,” says Mary. “The FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] is always in the background. Even now, the effects of the FDA are considerable. They don’t want you to make any new products. If you do make a new product, it has to go through the premarket authorization, which I do not believe anyone has passed. And it’s considerably expensive. We’re told the cost is $2,000 to $2,300 per test. If you’re a small company with 240 products, say at $2,000 per test for each, that’s $480,000 a year. That’s a lot of money! They also said they don’t want anymore seasonal or limited-edition products [because] it encourages people to smoke, and they don’t like that. And there’s the great unknown of how are they going to test pipe tobacco? They only know how to test cigarettes. They want the industry to develop the tests, and then they want us to pay for the tests they’re going to use to put us out of business!

Simultaneous with the FDA’s regulatory oversight came the government’s decision to no longer support the cultivation of tobacco as an agricultural product.

For 40 years we had the benefit of government and the support of the Department of Agriculture [USDA],” says Mary. “They ran the auctions. They established the grading system. They supported us just like any other agricultural product. We had what they called ‘the government pool.’

Let’s say the season was a bad one and crops weren’t bringing the best price because the quality wasn’t high. The government would buy up what wasn’t being sold, and that money was put into the government pool. And that gave the farmers enough money so they could plant again. The land that produced tobacco was considered an asset. The government would take care of the farmers with regard to whether or not they could plant. About 12 years ago, the government voted to buy them out [and] buy up those assets so that they wouldn’t have to be supportive of tobacco anymore. They had what they called ‘the farmer buyout,’ and the industry had to pay for it. For 10 years we paid the USDA so that the farmers would be paid off. As a result, about 68 percent of the farmers retired about 2016, and that ended about the same time the FDA came in and wanted to charge us user fees. After the farmer buyout, the USDA said, ‘That’s it for us. We’re not running auctions anymore. We’re not involved with tobacco anymore.’

The McNiels have always been adamant in their insistence of using only the finest-quality leaf for their blends. Their agents who represented them at tobacco auctions were instructed only to bid on the very best lots of tobacco available. As Mary tells it, the government’s exit from subsidizing and partnering in the cultivation of tobacco, in addition to its obvious agenda to discourage smoking, led to such a reduction of quality leaf tobacco they simply could no longer produce the level of product they would put their name on.

[My leaf buyers said that] the way things are handled today, the way it’s processed today is 180 degrees from what McClelland needs,” she says. “The leaf we’ve always depended on has to be picked when it’s ripe. The whole process was very labor-intensive. They used to go through the fields to pick leaves five different times, progressively going up the plant. Now what they’re doing is mechanical harvesting, and that pulls the green along with the ripe. Then when that leaf is put through the flue-curing process, which is intended to seal in the sugars; that unripe leaf has no sugar to seal in!

A manufacturer like McClelland, which uses only high-grade leaf, simply cannot produce the same level of quality tobaccos from the caliber of Virginia tobacco now available to them. “We can still get Perique, we can still get Latakia, we can still get burley. But we never based our business on burley, so when you add up all the products that we have had, if you take away all the ones that require matured Virginia, it’s down to so few that we can’t make a living from it.”

So why not sell the McClelland brand to an existing tobacco manufacturer? The response: “We’re a company that is obsessed,” says Mary. “My husband Mike is the heart of McClelland. And he goes to such extreme lengths to make sure that everything is just right. And we’re a small company. There’s no way a larger company would go to the same lengths to do this, to produce this type of product. They wouldn’t have our level of obsession.

With the potential for remaining in the industry remote, Mary reflected on the couple’s tenure in this amiable business, as well as her feelings about leaving it. “You know, it’s kind of bittersweet,” she says. “The parts that have been difficult to deal with, the negative things, we’re happy to leave those. But having the pr">oducts that we’ve had, it’s been great fun. It’s been a joy developing new products and having people like them as much as we like them.

The McNiels’ commitment to excellence and their determination to create and produce only the finest of products was perfectly summed up in a 2000 interview with Tobacconist’s sister publication Pipes and tobaccos, in which Mike gave this eerily prescient quote: “If the quality of available leaf ever went down to the point where we didn’t like our own product, we would shut the doors. We would shut the doors immediately and end it all because our name is on that can, and I’d rather find something else to do than put out something that isn’t right. I would rather go out of business. That way we could say, ‘Well, at least we went out with a great name.’ So McClelland will always be high-quality. We’ll never change.

With the closure of McClelland Tobacco, the industry has lost not only one of its great manufacturers but also people of the highest caliber, the type of people who make the tobacco business such a wonderful community. We wish them the best.

[End cite.]

This article placed here for reference purposes, in case Tobacconist magazine ever shuts down.

The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is the oldest, largest and most active trade association representing and assisting retail tobacconists. IPCPR members include retail stores throughout the world selling tobacco products and accessories (premium cigars, tobacco pipes, loose tobacco, cigar and pipe accessories and gift items) as well as manufacturers, distributors and service providers of high quality merchandise.

Please enjoy your smokes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017



[Addendum in this post: A Fading fragrance

Uncle's on Waverly and Clay, in their final iteration closed three years ago. For a long time it had been a lunch counter and bakery with good pies, and endless coffee. It's now a Szechuan something-or-other.
Sun Wah Kue Restaurant, on the corner of Washington Street and Ross Alley, had an orange chiffon pie which no one else does and many people fondly remember, as well as chops, ox tail, and the best waffles. Many old timers fondly remember the waffles. Booth seating, and a side door. Baked goods, daily lunch specials. A great place to dawdle over coffee and pastry on a rainy afternoon. The interior was formica, and plain white paint over wood, yellowed a bit and softened by the years.
New King Tin further down closed after a run of half a century, the restaurant that went in was a chachanteng which is now also gone.
Golden Dragon Barbecue on the upper corner of Washington Street and Waverly became a shop selling tacky souvenirs, and is now a discounter of large porcelain whatchamacallits.
Sun Hung Heung below Grant Avenue became a restaurant which in big bold characters (川味) tells the local people that they should not go there, Szechuan Taste! It caters entirely to gullible tourists and visiting provincials, and from what I hear the food and service are frighteningly awful.
Once upon a time there was delicious suckling pig.
Silver Restaurant changed hands and name, the food is decent, nice people work there, and they are open till ten.
Nam Yuen has been an empty building for over two decades.

Tao Tao Restaurant (陶陶茶樓), named after a famous dining spot in Hangchow (杭州), had existed since the very early thirties; the exterior recalled an elegant multistoried mansion in the Chinese style. It shut down a generation ago, and the paint-peeling building housed a bookstore and pop-music emporium for a while. It is now a general services centre, offering translation, tax prep, marriage introduction, job placement, immigration help, official forms, etcetera, while Woey Loy Goey (會來居) next door in the basement changed ownership and Chinese name, and hasn't served prime rib or beefsteak for an exceedingly long time.

New Moon Restaurant: changed hands at the beginning of the year, the Chinese name is different now, the roast ducks, barbecued pork, and hanging chickens are a glorious memory. The duck was that good.
It was delicious. I should have gone more often.
I wonder what happened to the people.
Empress of China Restaurant: closed in 2014.
New Lotus Garden: long time gone.

That place where I got a monumental MSG headache is also past tense.

Ping Yuen Bakery on Jackson closed very many years ago, and is sorely missed. Endless coffee, open til nine, a very long counter at which a single man could sit after work doing crossword puzzles before going to the Great Star Theater a few doors down for a gangster movie. The Shanghainese noodle place is gone. The DPD is gone. You can't get those lovely pastries and dumplings at Yong Kee Rice Noodle Co. up the street anymore, they finally quit after three generations. Preserved egg in a flaky puff-crust, chicken buns, and Toishan daai bau.

Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place which served 'rice paddy chicken'. They brought them out for us to choose, and one them hopped out of the basket, then sat staring at us with big placid eyes.


All of the movie theatres are gone, of course.

Friday, May 10, 2013


For references purposes, the following text is lifted entire from the internet page of the Halal Food Authority (HFA) in Great Britain.

Slaughter Procedures

The slaughterer must be an adult Muslim, and holder of a current slaughtering license accorded by Meat Hygiene Service.

Zibah is the method or the act of slaughter also known as zibah-al-Ikhtiyaariy by which an animal or a bird is slaughtered by a Muslim by saying shahada or tasmiya, Bismillah Allahu Akbar. If the slaughter is not done by zibah method, any meat or derivatives from such carcasses cannot be deemed to be halal or permissible for Muslims to consume.

Requirements for zibah are:
1.The knife to be used must be razor sharp; the blade must be straight and smooth, and free from any serration, pits, notches or damage. The length of the blade must be at least four times the width of the neck of the animal to be slaughtered. The blade must not flex noticeably whence in use.
2.The animal must not be anaesthetised, stunned to be killed or otherwise rendered wholly insensible prior to slaughter. It must be conscious and alive when it is slaughtered.
3.Poultry and other birds must be restrained either in an upright or prone position for slaughter.
4.Lamb, sheep, goats, calves (of less than 60kg dead weight) and other similar sized animals must be placed on a cradle for slaughter and if hung on shackles all efforts are made that they do not injure or bruise themselves.
5.Larger bovines, equines, deer and similar sized animals must be restrained in a standing position for slaughter.
6.The act of slaughter (Zibah-al-Ikhtiyaariy) must be done with a simple swipe across the neck. The cut should not be any deeper than necessary to sever the carotid artery, jugular vein and windpipe and must not sever the spinal cord. The slaughterer must pronounce aloud or under lip the Arabic words, Bismillah, AllahuAkbar (in the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest) in a reverential tone (if possible), when slaughtering. The Jugular vein, windpipe and carotid artery should be cut by a single swipe of a sharp knife, without damage to the spinal cord.
7.After being slaughtered, lambs, sheep, goats and other similar sized animals must be restrained in situ for at least 20 seconds. Bovine and other similarly sized animals must be restrained in situ for 60 seconds. Poultry and other birds must not be subjected to any further processing for at least 20 seconds. During the aforementioned period they must not be further injured, nor subjected to unnecessary stress or pain. Indeed it is desirable that efforts are made to calm them during this period.
8.The slaughterer must clean the knife after slaughter of every animal or bird and must check that the knife still conforms to above rules. If damaged, the knife must be replaced. If it is no longer razor sharp, it must be sharpened, say, on a flat stone and approved by an HFA inspector before further use. Note that the knife must not be sharpened in sight of animals awaiting slaughter.
9.The slaughterer or supervisor must ensure that all the flowing blood has been drained from the chicken or ovine or bovine carcass.
10.The water used during the poultry de-feathering process must be at the lowest practical temperature in vogue.
11.No dorsal cut is allowed, since this method would slice or sever the spinal cord and the bird or the animal is rendered incapacitated to convulse to drain the flowing blood out of the carcass.
12.At the abattoir, slaughterhouse, distribution centre and retail outlets, DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Meat Hygiene Services (MHS), European Union (EU) and local hygiene laws and regulations should always be adhered to, and strictly followed at every stage of the process.


[Halal Food Authority (HFA) is an independent, voluntary, non-profit, organisation operating as a commercial wing of a registered charity. The objective of the HFA is to facilitate the Muslim Ummah to be partial to genuinely manufactured halal food in compliance of the HFA Halal Standards, Islamic Jurisprudence and relevant EU regulations in vogue. Simultaneously, the HFA creates awareness of halal principles and axioms for halal production within food industry, consumers and various national and international forums. ]

Readers will kindly note the similarity with elements of kashrus, though the rules set above are not as strict or as detailed. In recent years fanatics in Europe and elsewhere have called for a ban on both Halal and Kashrus, in an attempt to undermine the stability of the polyfaceted societies of the modern world.  Neither Halal nor Kashrus can be construed as unusual traditions or cruelty to the animals meant for food, and scandals in England and on the continent within the past few months prove that the meat industries that sell to the general public have, in the main, engaged in questionable practises and contaminated their product with substances that were not divulged on the label, including diseased flesh and animals that are neither kosher nor halal.

This blogger believes that food standards and methods of slaughter should be left to the relevant communities provided there are no health or hygiene issues, and that authorities should enforce proper adherence to the regulations concerning health, hygiene, and content.

In short, it would be well if the non-kosher and non-halal concerned 'majority' got its own house in order before it casts a jaundiced eye at traditions which have ever stressed cleanliness and honesty.

NOTE: in posting this, I have no particular axe to grind, other than an abiding dislike of people such as Geert Wilders, Pamela Geller, Debbie Schlussel, and many other throwbacks to a more vile era.
I am not a Muslim, nor a Christian. My personal hashkofo veers rather strongely to the Talmudic spectrum, though my ancestry is in the main Dutch Calvinist and Anglican. This is mentioned only in the interests of establishing clarity regarding my angle of view.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Readers of some of the other blogs associated with my profile have noticed a term of opprobrium used not infrequently to appell a repulsive and typically Californian type of pustule.
Others have wondered at the venom with which I regard the type.
They have failed to understand the association.

It is for their benefit that I post the definition below.

Berkeleyite: a clench-jawed intolerant ideologue, in whose priggish presence all thought and creativity become nearly impossible. Most Berkeleyites are so utterly convinced of their own rightness and worth that their mere presence guarantees a lack of anything and everything good in the universe. Vegans, anti-Semites and Israel-haters, pot activists, puritans, and the frigidly uber-bourgeois. All in all quite horrid, quite ignorant, and quite terrifyingly narrow-minded. But the epitome of politically correct smarm. Often, but not always, products of a once top notch but now mediocre educational institution centred there. Berkeley is Tehran with wasps.
Berkeleyites are the ring-leaders and trend-setters of darkness. The term 'Berkelyite' on this blog stands in for all that is repellent.

Berkeley, you will readily understand, is the most pretentious and self-satisfied place on the planet. It is home to Humpty Dumpty as well as Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

I used to live in Berkeley. It was a more rational place at the time. Since then it has become worse. Far worse.
I no longer set foot in the place if I can help it.