Islamic leaders are calling on Muslims to boycott school meals in the county of Lancashire, after it became the first local authority to refuse to supply non-stunned Halal meat to council-run establishments.
Some twenty-seven schools in the county, including Church of England and Roman Catholic faith schools, currently serve non-stunned Halal meat, reports The Telegraph.
“This is an animal welfare issue. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim, sadly some people are trying to make it out to be,” said council leader Geoff Driver, who previously revealed that non-Muslim children at Christian and secular schools were being fed Halal meat without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
“My concern that animals that are slaughtered without being pre-stunned go through a lot of stress and torment when they’re actually dying,” he added.
Christian Schools Are Feeding Pupils Halal Meat https://t.co/I6UpCvFwBF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 23, 2017
Driver’s motion states that the Conservative-run municipal authority is “concerned that slaughtering animals without stunning them beforehand causes them unnecessary stress and suffering.”
Consequently, the council is resolved not to provide meat to council establishments unless animals were stunned before slaughter — with the exception of poultry, as stunning chickens can kill them, making it impossible for them to die as prescribed by Islamic rules post-stun.
The council also resolved to consult with the Lancashire Council of Mosques “on how the council can implement this whilst continuing to provide meals which comply with the Muslim community’s religious beliefs”, and to undertake further investigations with the Lancashire Council of Mosques into the stunning of poultry before slaughter.
Documents seen by The Telegraph indicate that Lancashire Council is concerned by the potential financial impact of a Muslim boycott, which saw it climb down from a temporary ban on non-stunned Halal meat in 2012 — and is worried about negative media coverage, too.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 16, 2016
There have been a number of scandals surrounding Halal meat in the United Kingdom in recent years.
Breitbart London exclusively revealed that Queen Elizabeth Hospital in London was serving only Halal meat in September 2017, two years after an undercover investigation revealed “shocking” animal abuse in Halal slaughterhouses — only for the British government to claim it had nothing to do with religion.
Animal welfare campaigners handed Downing Street a 100,000-signature petition to ban non-stun slaughter backed by celebrities such as comedian Ricky Gervais and Queen guitarist Brian May in November 2016, with organisers accusing the food industry of “pandering to the minority group[s]” which indulge in the practice.
“[We] would prefer to see all animals stunned before they are slaughtered for food,” responded the previous David Cameron government.
“However, we also respect the rights of the Jewish and Muslim communities to eat meat prepared in accordance with their religious beliefs.”