For Britain wishes to provide you with an update on a case that has been in and out of the news in NW England for some time. It is regarding a long battle over the supply of Halal food to schools in Lancashire (that finally ended in 2018 due to the Council’s action) but has some points for us to note. There is also a warning for the future.
The case saw multiple attempts by Muslim groups to exploit loopholes, setup boycotts and challenge the Council’s decision to ban non-stun slaughtered meat from schools in the Lancashire region.
After the first vote was ruled to have not met the legal requirements of having a public consultation, the authority was forced to open one in which Muslim pressure groups mobilised their community to respond to the consultation.
The Council still voted to cease supplying Halal meat from “some” animals killed without stunning, but the move was described as “discriminatory and Islamophobic” by local Muslim leaders.
It is reported that this is the first local authority within the UK to rule that meat provided to pupils by its supply chain must be from suppliers that stun animals prior to slaughter. This closes a loophole that Muslim groups have exploited to enable the supply of Halal meat, often unwittingly, on all pupils at schools within the region.
Under UK regulations, livestock should be shocked before slaughter – though there are religious exemptions for the Jewish and Muslim faiths.
Councillors at Lancashire County Council argued that un-stunned slaughter induced needless stress and suffering to the animals.
The authority supplies school meals for 27 schools. From September, these schools will have the opportunity of ordering stunned meat from the council or seeking their own alternative suppliers of un-stunned Halal meat on a school by school basis as detailed in this PDF release of the change in policy.
However Muslim Labour opposition councillors Azhar Ali and Abdul Hamid Qureshi, chief executive of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, condemned the choice as “undemocratic and vastly discriminatory”. They allege animal welfare claims weren’t the main factor in this decision.
He stated the group was offended and upset, and that members would contemplate legal action and explore independent catering services for affected schools.
In a statement made on the move he said: “This is dictatorial – two-thirds of the people surveyed stated they didn’t desire a ban. It doesn’t matter what individuals say – the council leader had made up his mind!”. He claimed the choice was not based on animal welfare grounds, but as “…a political whip to kick individuals, particularly Muslims and Jews”.
Cllr. Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire council made the following statement. “There was a lot debate about what constitutes halal” and noted that in some international locations “all animals must be stunned before slaughter”.
A council spokesman stated the move was not a “ban” because faculties were free to cease using the Council catering service. They also stressed that its policy was completely based on animal-welfare grounds.
As much as 180 million chickens killed last 12 months with out efficient stunning.
When Mr Driver was asked why the choice was made in opposition from two in three respondents. he stated the session was not about whether or not to implement the policy. But rather for the impact it would have on animal welfare.
Mr Driver stated: “We accept a small number of schools might choose to make use of completely different suppliers for halal meat. Nevertheless, we hope that individuals perceive how the council has arrived at this determination, which has been taken solely on the grounds of animal welfare with due consideration for the impacts outlined within the responses to the proposed policy.”
“We want to work with the Lancashire Council of Mosques to make sure that the meals we provide to the affected faculties in future present a variety of nutritious choices which fulfil college students’ dietary needs and are acceptable to LCM, parents and governors.”
Another council spokesman stated: “Now we have excluded the stunning of poultry as a result of it [stunning] can kill the fowl earlier than it may be humanely slaughtered in accordance with halal and kosher requirements.”
Mr Qureshi stated that they had asked to sit down with council leaders to debate stunning processes. He stated his group would not compromise on its no-stun stance.
He also made the bizarre and unscientific claim. That stunning animals was “unhygienic” as blood is believed to hold illness so needs to be drained from a carcass.
Support from other groups
The Humanists UK group strongly backed the council’s position. Declaring that polling by the British Veterinary Affiliation revealed that 64 per cent of vets believed that welfare in the slaughter process, particularly a requirement for stunning, needs to be a priority.
In response to the move, the group stated: “By offering non-stunned meat in its faculties, Lancashire county council is arguably performing as an adjunct to a breach of the regulation, because the exemption from the requirement for animals to be stunned is explicitly solely ‘for the meals of Jews’ or ‘for the meals of Muslims’, and some meat would be eaten by pupils not from these communities”.
For Britain reached out to Mr Driver for comment on this story and he replied with the following:
Thank you for your e-mail.
The reason for LCC ceasing to provide meat to any of our establishments unless the animal was stunned before it was slaughtered is easily expressed. A majority of council members believes that it is cruel and barbaric to slaughter an animal whilst it is conscious and modern methods of stunning can guarantee that the animal is still alive (but unconscious) at the point of slaughter which should comply with religious requirements.
That ban remains in force and will do so whilst I remain as leader of the council but we have to keep this subject before the electorate because it is a fact of law that no council can commit its successor.
We applaud Mr Drivers stance and wish him every success in this issue. But it is clear that Labour opposition would reverse this policy the moment they gain a majority. Which is why we ask you, our readers to share this story with family and friends in the Lancashire area. Labour cannot be allowed to win the upcoming election this month.