UK: Halal meat to stay on school dinner menus

By richard ault

A CAMPAIGN led by the BNP to take halal meat off school menus has been defeated.

Seventeen of Stoke-on-Trent‘s 93 schools serve up the ritually-slaughtered meat in their canteens after at least 10 per cent of parents backed the move.

Councillor Michael Coleman, leader of the far right party, tabled a motion at yesterday’s full Stoke-on-Trent City Council meeting to ban the practice in all Potteries schools.

He also called on the authority to write to the Secretary of State calling for a blanket ban on what he called a “barbaric” practice.

Mr Coleman said under halal rules, animals were not stunned with a bolt of electricity before being slaughtered.

The Weston and Meir North representative said he raised the issue after being approached by a group of Tunstall mums angry that their children were being fed halal meat without their knowledge.

He said: “I think to kill an animal in that way is barbaric.

“It is not labelled correctly and the general opinion was that it’s a dirty trick to play on mothers and children.

“There are also fast food outlets that sell halal meat and it is not identified.

“I would like to express my disgust that we have got schools in this city, teaching kids to be kind to animals when they are being served meat killed in this way.”

He added: “It’s not about religion, it’s about the way these animals are killed.”

But Labour councillor Joy Garner accused Mr Coleman of electioneering.

She said: “There is hardly any difference from the slaughter that goes on in most slaughter houses.

“The vast majority of halal meat is stunned first. The only difference is a prayer is read over the animals.

“We have a duty to look after animals, not just a few minutes before death.”

Labour councillor Debra Gratton said: “Seventeen of our schools are provided with halal meat which is clearly labelled.

“Such products are only introduced after consultation with parents.

“Only one school has chosen to offer halal meat exclusively. In others it represents around four per cent of meat distribution. There’s always non-halal alternatives.”

She said halal meat served in city schools was only taken from animals which had been stunned before killed.

Halal meat has been provided to some city schools since 2000.

Community Voice councillor Mike Barnes said: “The credibility of the BNP simply turning out to support animal rights is about as credible as the Liberal Democrats voting for an increase in tuition fees.

“It’s not just about cruelty to animals at the end of its life, what about the two or three years before.”