A man has appeared in court for racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage after he admitted to putting anti-halal stickers on meat at a branch of Sainsbury’s.
Liam Edwards said he put the labels on the meat, which called for a ban on halal slaughter, at a branch of the supermarket near his Salford home, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Edwards denied it was racially motivated just because it was protesting about Islamic slaughter methods.
The stickers said ‘Beware halal is barbaric and funds terrorism’.
Last month a video was revealed by charity Animal Aid which showed barbaric treatment of sheep in a slaughterhouse in North Yorkshire.
The cameras caught employees at the Boward Abattoir near Thirsk sawing at the animals’ necks with seemingly blunt knives, stamping on the sheep and kicking them in the head as they attempted to get them onto the conveyor belt.
An online petition calling for an end to religious slaughter has received nearly 100,000 signatures and the backing of celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Sadie Frost and Brian May.
But a spokesperson from Defra refused to concede there was any link between Islam and cruel methods of slaughter.
Mr Edwards, 29, pleaded not guilty at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court after the stickers were discovered placed on meat products and equipment on February 18 at the store close to his home.
His barrister, Mike Cahill, said Edwards was protesting against halal slaughter and the reference to terrorism in the stickers did not refer to race or religion.
Edwards admitted possession of cannabis and causing criminal damage to food goods when he appeared in court on Wednesday.
The prosecution did not accept his pleas with Holly Holden, prosecuting, saying: “The point about animal slaughter can be expressed in a different way without suggesting halal and terrorism is linked.”
She said Mr Edwards fully admitted his actions but claims he was protesting against the halal slaughter of the animals which is based on Islamic law.
An Australian housewife has launched a campaign urging producers to label food so consumers can make a choice about whether they buy halal food, where the animals may not have been stunned before they are killed.
Ms Smith claims that the method of production ‘funds extremism’ and uses her website to encourage consumers to lobby companies and governments with their wishes.
She says there is a link between the method of slaughter and extremism, with a brand who wants to have their products halal certified needing to pay an Islamic religious tax.
Smith recommends people use the text:
“Less than 2 percent of this population is Muslim and I do not want to fund special religious rituals or political campaigns to increase the presence of Sharia Law in Australia.
“Please respect consumers and give them/us the necessary information so we can make our own choices.”
Mr Edwards will go on trial at the magistrates’ court on July 23rd this year and has been released on bail on the condition he does not go near the Sainsbury’s supermarket.