The ‘Say NO to halal slaughter in Skegness’ facebook group was set up after it was announced a business practising the religious methods was preparing to move into the town’s Heath Road abattoir.
Founding member Tess Turner, of Alford, claims the practices of slaughtering animals without stunning them first are inhumane and illegal if sold for consumption by those who are not Jewish or Muslim. She has also stressed that her motivations are purely based on animal welfare issues and in no way condones racism or religious intolerance.
She said: “The race card has been thrown at us time and time again but this is literally to do with the cruelty to animals.
“Animals will be made to suffer unnecessarily and it’s just not on.”
UK law requires animals to be stunned prior to slaughtering but Muslim and Jewish communities are given an exemption in accordance with their religion.
That exemption, however, does not cover slaughtering non-stunned animals for consumption by people other than Jews and Muslims.
Tess believes the increasing proportion of halal meat found in supermarkets and restaurants shows this law is being flouted and can’t understand the need for any more of the slaughterhouses.
Although statistics from the Food Standards Authority have revealed that more than 80 per cent of animals slaughtered in halal abattoirs in the UK are stunned before being killed, Tess believes the lower strength electrical stunning that is carried out to immobilise the animal, still leaves them conscious and sensitive to pain.
She would prefer halal slaughtermen gassed their animals unconscious like the methods practised by Muslim-run abattoirs in Germany.
Skegness resident Ben Peel, however, feels the opposition to halal slaughter demonises a minority religion and believes the supposedly more humane methods implemented in other slaughterhouses are little better when carried out on an industrial scale.
He said: “If you are a meat eater the business of slaughtering animals is not pleasant whatever method is used.”
The Halal Food Authority’s president Masood Khawaja, has also made assurances that animal welfare is among the three core principals central to halal slaughtering practises.