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English county bans unstunned halal meat from all school meals

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English county bans unstunned halal meat from all school meals

Post Neon Knight on Mon 30 Oct - 0:00

Spoiler:

Very Happy

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/26/halal-meat-row-lancashire-council-becomes-first-ban-unstunned/  Quoting, slightly editied:

Lancashire has become the first council to ban unstunned halal meat in school dinners. After a bitter and impassioned debate which ran on for hours on Thursday afternoon, the Conservative-controlled council voted for the ban. The campaign was fought between council leader Geoff Driver and part of the the local Muslim community.

In 2012, the council briefly stopped supplying halal meat to local schools over a production issue, but after children boycotted their school dinners, the unstunned meat was reinstated. The council currently supplies 27 schools across the county with unstunned halal meat. According to research by the National Secular Society, four other local authorities use unstunned meat - Leeds, Bradford, Leicester, and Telford and Wrekin.

Many Muslims will not eat meat from animals which are pre-stunned, as they worry the stunning process could kill the animals, and eating meat from livestock which died before the ceremonial Halal slaughter process is “haram”, or forbidden.


Halal meat - the requirements:

* There is no consensus across the Muslim community over whether animals can be stunned before they are killed and remain Halal

* However, over 80 per cent of Halal meat sold in the UK is stunned, and meat from New Zealand and Denmark all has to be stunned before it is slaughtered.

* Halal is Arabic for permissible. If meat is not halal, it is described as 'haram', or forbidden.

* Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood is drained from the carcass. During the process, a Muslim will recite a dedication, known as tasmiya or shahada.

* Stunning cannot be used to kill an animal, according to the Halal Food Authority (HFA), a non-profit organisation that monitors adherence to halal principles. But it can be used if the animal survives and is then killed by halal methods, the HFA adds.



In official documents, seen by The Telegraph, the council warned there could be financial implications if it lost school catering contracts due to a boycott, encouraged by the Lancashire Council of Mosques. The council is also fearful of negative local media coverage.

The council leader, Geoff Driver, pushed for the end of non-stunned halal meat in schools. He said: "This is an animal welfare issue, nothing more, nothing less. My concern that animals that are slaughtered without being pre-stunned go through a lot of stress and torment when they're actually dying."

UK law specifies that while slaughterhouses must usually stun all animals before killing them, an exemption is made for those who need Halal or Kosher meat for religious purposes. . . .

Abdul Qureshi, acting CEO of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, was advocating children boycott their school lunches if the vote went against him. He told The Telegraph: “[The RSPCA’s guidance] is most of the time based on feelings, it's not scientifically conclusive.”

The RSPCA hit back at his claims. A spokesperson told The Telegraph: “ I utterly, completely refuse to cede that's where our views come from. Ourselves, the British Veterinary Association and the Humane Slaughter Association signed a joint statement saying the only humane way to kill an animal is to stun it.

"There is countless scientific evidence showing that when an animal has its neck cut it feels quite considerable pain. The farm animal welfare council is of the opinion that the only humane way to kill an animal to stun it. You take New Zealand - everything is pre-stunned there, and it's all Halal, it's exported to countries in the Middle East and they all accept that it is Halal. We, for animal welfare reasons, would be quite happy if unstunned meat was banned across the UK.”

Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns director, commented: ". . . A majority of Muslims accept pre-stunned  slaughter and we would urge all schools and local authorities to resist being bullied into unethical and regressive policy decisions by fundamentalist faith leaders claiming to speak on behalf of all Muslims.

“The time has come to abolish the religious exemption that allows animals to be slaughtered without pre-stunning. Religious freedom should be supported, but this is not an absolute right. Exemptions should not be made on religious grounds to animal welfare regulations intended to ensure that farm animals are slaughtered under the most humane conditions possible.”

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Re: English county bans unstunned halal meat from all school meals

Post OsricPearl on Tue 31 Oct - 18:58

That's good. People shouldn't be forced to eat meat that was slaughtered in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
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