European proposals to force retailers to carry labels on meat saying whether the animal had been stunned before it was slaughtered were blocked by the British government, according to The Times. The European Parliament approved the labelling plan in June 2010, but the government did not support the proposal.
Now the European Council of Ministers has put out a new set of proposals, with the results of the consultation due next month.
Muslim and Jewish groups expressed feared that properly labelling meat might discriminate against them. But as the row about halal meat in British supermarkets and restaurants deepened the Muslim Council of Britain publicly stated that it supported clearly labelling.
Veterinarians and the RSPCA are pushing for meat labels to show whether the animal has been stunned or not, on the grounds that not stunning the animal is cruel. He calls has been backed by the halal food authority
Other Muslim and Jewish groups claim the debate over stunned meat has been sensationalised ahead of the European Elections. They say that any action on the issue will play into the hands of extremist parties running on 22nd May.
The current food row began when it was exposed that Pizza Express served only halal chicken, but did not make that clear on its menu. British consumers are concerned that they are not being given a choice, and that not stunning animals in unnecessarily cruel.
Whilst the government blocked proposals to properly label in the past, the mounting pressure is likely to make it hard for them to stop any future plans.