Lancashire Councillors are to be given a free vote on whether school children across the country should be fed ‘halal’ meat from animals that have had their throats slit without being stunned.
If the local representatives vote to ban the meat in schools, thousands of Muslim children could boycott meals in Lancashire schools as they did back in 2012 when a similar restriction was introduced.
Council leader Geoff Driver told the Lancashire Telegraph: “In my view, it is abhorrent to kill an animal without stunning it because of the distress it causes. We will bring it to a full council meeting where members can vote with their conscience.”
Pendle Central Tory Cllr Joe Cooney added: “I have grave reservations and will vote against the banning of halal meat that is not pre-stunned.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 9, 2016
Unstunned halal meat is currently supplied to 12,000 pupils at 27 schools in Blackburn, Nelson, Burnley, Rawtenstall, Hyndburn, Clitheroe, and Preston.
The council will still supply halal meals for Muslim students if the ban is brought in, but the animals will be studded before slaughter. However, this fails to meet the Lancashire Council of Mosques’ (LCM) interpretation of Islamic law.
On their website, the LCM lists their strict “criteria” for producing meat they consider genuinely halal, including “the slaughterman must be a Muslim,” and, the “process must avoid all forms of stunning and the animal must be alive prior to slaughter.”
LCM chairman and Burnley resident Abdul Hamid Qureshi said: “We thought this issue has been resolved in 2012 and it is unfortunate it has been raised again.
“This is personal crusade by Cllr Driver. For him, it is matter of feelings but for Muslims, this is matter of faith.
“The LCM position is and always has been that stunning before slaughter means the meat is not halal and there is argument about whether pre-stunning causes more or less distress to animals that slaughter without it.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 18, 2015
In 2012, when the authority banned unstunned meat from 600 schools, the LCM told Muslim families to boycott all such halal meat
Thousands of Muslim children at 45 county council schools in the area refused to eat meals containing the meat, and the decision was eventually reversed.
In November 2016, campaigners handed a 100,000 signature petition to Downing Street calling for a ban on halal and kosher (Jewish) slaughter.
Earlier in the year, three halal slaughtermen were charged with animal cruelty after they were secretly filmed by an animal rights group committing “systematic” acts of abuse against sheep and goats.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 16, 2016