If animals are being mistreated, does it become prohibited to eat or use products from those animals because it would lead to further mistreatment?

Islam teaches us to be kind to all living creatures and categorically prohibits animal abuse. The Prophet informs us of how a woman earned God’s wrath for mistreating a cat that she imprisoned, neither feeding it nor letting it hunt for food. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī]

We are allowed to slaughter animals for meat, but it must be done in the least cruel way. The Prophet said: “Allah has decreed proficiency in everything. If you slaughter something then do it properly. A person should sharpen his blade and make it easy for the animal.” [Sahîh Muslim] Islam teaches us to not use a dull knife or allow the animal to see the blade beforehand, because it would scare the animal. It is important to note that if Islam has prescribed such stringent rules to be followed even when the animal is about to die, then it must be treated just as well throughout its life, when it potentially has a longer lifespan in front of it.

Many animals today live miserable lives due to unsanitary conditions, physical restraints which prevent them from moving around, and other unethical practices. All of these actions are primarily done out of greed for earning more profit, without having the slightest care for the animal’s welfare.

Despite the fact that these unethical practices are prohibited in Islam, it does not render the animal impermissible to consume. As long as the animal has been slaughtered correctly and the cruel means of treating the animal will not affect the meat where it becomes harmful to the consumer, then it is lawful to eat. However, if boycotting the products produced from this animal such as meat, milk, and leather will definitely lead to alleviating the cruelty against these animals, then it may be necessary for Muslims to participate in such a boycott and avoid supporting such an industry.

Allah knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar