Unfortunately, there is some confusion in the Sikh panth over whether the eating of meat is permitted for Amrit Dhari Sikhs. The Sikh Rehit Maryada prohibits the eating of “Kuttha” which is usually interpreted as meaning a slaughtered animal but some interpret it as referring to halaal meat which is the type of ritualized meat eaten by Muslims.  However, by looking into Sikh history and most importantly, by looking towards Gurbani, it becomes clear that eating all kinds of meat is not permitted in Sikhi.

In hukumnamas collected by Dr. Ganda Singh jee and published in his book ‘hukumnamas’ each one of Guru Hargobind Sahib’s hukumnamas state ‘guru guru japna janam savar sangat dee kamnaa guru pooree karraygaa. Sangatee da ruzgaar hog, ik daasee rahinaa. Maas muchee day naray nahee avanaa.’ The last line says not to even go near meat or fish.

Bhai Gurdas jee, whose banee was called the key to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee by Guru Arjan Dev Jee says:

ਸੀਹ ਪਜੂਤੀ ਬਕਰੀ ਮਰਦੀ ਹੋਈ ਹੜ ਹੜ ਹਸੀ||
ਸੀਹੁ ਪੁਛੈ ਵਿਸਮਾਦੁ ਹੋਇ ਇਤੁ ਅਉਸਰਿ ਕਿਤੁ ਰਹਸਿ ਰਹਸੀ||
ਬਿਨਉ ਕਰੇਂਦੀ ਬਕਰੀ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਅਸਾਡੇ ਕੀਚਨਿ ਖਸੀ||
ਅਕ ਧਤੂਰਾ ਖਾਧਿਆਂ ਕੁਹਿ ਕੁਹਿ ਖਲ ਉਖਲਿ ਵਿਣਸੀ||
ਮਾਸੁ ਖਾਨਿ ਗਲ ਵਢਿ ਕੈ ਹਾਲੁ ਤਿਨਾੜਾ ਕਉਣੁ ਹੋਵਸੀ|| (Vaar 25-7)

This means that the goat says, ‘I was eating Ak and Dhatura plants (weed plants found in India) for whole of my life, to which no body else liked to eat. And even then I am being brutally killed and my skin being ripped, What will happen to those who cut my throat and eat my meat?

In another vaar, Bhai Gurdas jee talks about a goat being cut by butcher to be eaten :

ਕੁਹੈ ਕਸਾਈ ਬਕਰੀ ਲਾਇ ਲੂਣ ਸੀਖ ਮਾਸੁ ਪਰੋਆ||
ਹਸਿ ਹਸਿ ਬੋਲੇ ਕੁਹੀਂਦੀ ਖਾਧੇ ਅਕਿ ਹਾਲੁ ਇਹੁ ਹੋਆ||
ਮਾਸ ਖਾਨਿ ਗਲਿ ਛੁਰੀ ਦੇ ਹਾਲੁ ਤਿਨਾੜਾ ਕਉਣੁ ਅਲੋਆ||  (Vaar 37-21)

This means that the goat is being killed, cut into pieces and salt being spread on the pieces. While being killed goat says this all happened to me while I was just eating Ak plant (weed found in India’s desert fields). In last line goat puts a question, what will be the fate of those in the court of god who cut my throat with a knife and eat my meat?

In Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, there are also lots of references which establish that it is important not to eat meat. ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਲੇਇ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ || ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਨੀਕਸੈ ਮਾਰ ਮੁਹੈ ਮੁਹਿ ਖਾਇ ||੨੦੦|| meaning it is evil to use force and kill, god will certainly take you to task for it. When you must present your deeds in the court of god, you will face blows to the face. And ਕਬੀਰ ਭਾਂਗ ਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ || ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ ||੨੩੩|| here Kabeer jee clearly states eating meat, fish and drinking liquor is wrong and religion is not possible while eating these. ਬੇਦ ਕਤੇਬ ਕਹਹੁ ਮਤ ਝੂਠੇ ਝੂਠਾ ਜੋ ਨ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ || ਜਉ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ਕਹਤ ਹਉ ਤਉ ਕਿਉ ਮੁਰਗੀ ਮਾਰੈ ||੧||  meaning, the Semitic and Hindu scriptures aren’t false, false is he who does not reflect on them. If they say that there is god in all, then why do you kill a chicken? Finally, Bhagat Kabeer jee says ਕਬੀਰ ਖੂਬੁ ਖਾਨਾ ਖੀਚਰੀ ਜਾ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਲੋਨੁ || ਹੇਰਾ ਰੋਟੀ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਗਲਾ ਕਟਾਵੈ ਕਉਨੁ ||੧੮੮|| meaning it is good to eat kicharee (mixture of rice and pulses), that has been tastefully prepared with salt. Who should risk having their throat cut (in the after life) just for a meal of meat and bread?

Mercy is of utmost importance in gurmat ਦਇਆ ਜਾਣੈ ਜੀਅ ਕੀ ਕਿਛੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਕਰੇਇ || from aasaa dee vaar tells us to have mercy on all living things. Guru jee also tells us ਦੂਖੁ ਨ ਦੇਈ ਕਿਸੈ ਜੀਅ ਪਤਿ ਸਿਉ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਵਉ || give pain to no living thing, go home with honour. ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਗਲ ਪੁੰਨ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ || meaning: Going to the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage, of greater merit and acceptance is having mercy upon living things.