What Is Halal Duck?

Lee Johnson

Halal duck is duck meat that is the product of slaughter following correct Islamic ritual. The term halal means “permissible,” and its application is fairly wide-ranging. The opposite is haram, or “prohibited.” Many things in Islamic life are divided based on these two categories, though perhaps none as widely as food, cosmetics, and other aspects of bodily care. In the context of duck and other meat, the halal designation usually concerns how the animal died. Any duck that has been slaughtered according to Islamic laws can be classified as halal. In general the animal must be blessed by the person who killed it, typically a practicing Muslim, and the blood must be drained out of it before it is eaten. There are also rules regarding how it dies, most specifically that its throat must be slit with one swipe of a knife and that its spine must remain in tact. Halal duck can be cooked in many different ways. Cooking must adhere to larger Islamic dietary laws in order to be eaten by faithful Muslims, but even an unacceptable presentation won’t usually change the halal nature of the meat itself.

Halal duck legs.
Halal duck legs.

Understanding Halal Principles

Islamic religious documents set down rules covering most aspects of adherents’ lives, but food and drink restrictions tend to be some of the best known by those outside the faith. The rules regarding which animals can and cannot be eaten by Muslims can be found in the Qur'an, which is the holy book of the faith. For example, pork is not permitted to be eaten, nor are carnivorous animals. Certain food elements, including lard and animal proteins like casein, aren’t usually allowed either, though certain exceptions may be made if the origin can be certified as halal. The law also states that animals that died of natural causes are not suitable for eating, and blood can’t be consumed at all.

Halal duck meat must come from a bird slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law.
Halal duck meat must come from a bird slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law.

Specific Regulations for Duck Slaughter

The rules regarding the slaughter of animals are quite specific, and these are typically what set ordinary duck apart from that which is halal. To prepare halal duck, the animal's throat must be slit by a single swipe of a sharp knife, the duck must be blessed by the person who slaughtered it, and it must be hung so that the blood can drain out of it. The person in charge of the slaughter must usually be a Muslim, and must invoke the name of Allah before taking the animal’s life.

Modern Food Production Controversy

Modern food production practices have caused some controversy when it comes to producing and certifying halal meats. Some large food chains have begun producing halal meat so that their products can be eaten by Muslims. Many of the animals that these companies use for halal meat are stunned before having their throats slit, and although this is permissible according to certain halal food authorities, some Muslims disagree. The use of machines to slaughter and produce halal duck and other meats is also controversial for some Muslims but has been deemed acceptable by others.

Most of the time, these practices are undertaken in the name of efficiency, which in turn brings costs down. For the strictest of adherents, though, cost shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to the sacredness of life and the respect with which it must be treated.

Regulations Related to Cooking

Duck that meets halal standards can be cooked in any number of ways. Most of the time its “halal” status can’t be revoked even if the meat is later cooked with haram ingredients, like pork products, alcohol, or certain animal fats or proteins. A Muslim diner may not wish to eat such a meal, but in this case it would be because the cooking was haram — not because the duck wasn’t halal.

Halal markets sell a wide variety of halal foods and products, including halal meat and poultry.
Halal markets sell a wide variety of halal foods and products, including halal meat and poultry.

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Discussion Comments


I think foie gras is haram. Technically, ducks that are slaughtered according to Islamic law are halal. And liver is halal as well. But foie gras is made from the livers of ducks that are fattened by force-feeding them. These animals are treated most cruelly for people's pleasure. Anyone who cares for animals should never touch foie gras.


@stoneMason-- You should probably ask your imam about this because I have heard differing opinions. There are different schools of thought in Islam (like Hanafi) and sometimes they have different rulings about these things. Technically, we should be able to easily make a clear judgment about what is halal or haram looking at the Qur'an and hadith.

One popular opinion is that duck is halal because it is a bird that does not eat other animals. A hawk, for example, is haram because it is a bird that feeds on live prey like mice, etc. But ducks are herbivores. They eat things like grass and seed. So they are not in the same category as a hawk. The same logic applies to chicken. So I think duck is halal. But ask an expert to make sure.


As far as I know, the Qur'an doesn't specifically say anything about birds being halal or haram. But chicken is widely consumed in Muslim majority countries.

I personally don't think that I could eat duck but I have no idea if it is halal or haram. I guess, if chicken is halal, then duck will also be halal because they are both birds. But ducks do have some differences. Their feet and beaks are different. I know for sure that pawed animals can't be eaten but that's also because they're carnivorous. But there are also animals like rabbits, which are not carnivorous but have paws.

So I'm basically very confused. Are animals like ducks really halal? And how have Muslim authorities come to this conclusion?

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