UK: Muslim Arbitration Tribunal on Machine Slaughter

Due to the ongoing concern in the UK Muslim community regarding machine slaughter being accepted as chicken-halalHalal an arbitration on machine slaughter is taking place. It is appropriate that this should be discussed and decided by Islamic scholars, presided over by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal. This way, each side will have the opportunity to debate and put their case forward.

Currently over 1,75million chickens are being slaughtered using machine slaughter for the Halal market every week by UK producers and certified by unregulated Halal certifiers. This has created problems regarding Halal slaughter being done in this way. Unregulated Halal certifiers will have the opportunity to defend the use of machine slaughter at the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal.

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) was established to provide a viable alternative for the Muslim community seeking to resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic sacred Law.

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal is a form of alternative dispute resolution for the Muslim community that operates under the Arbitration Act 1996.  Their ‘core business’ is arbitrating Islamic disputes under the Arbitration Act 1996, where the Rulings can be enforced in England and Wales by both the County Courts and the High Court.

It is proposed that The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal will arbitrate on the following:

1. The GUIDANCE NOTE ON HALAL FOOD ISSUES, which was issued by the Food Standards Agency and issued as guidance for Local Authority enforcement officers on Halal food issues in February 2003. It states the mislabeling and misrepresentation of Halal foods is of great importance to the Muslim community, and continues to be an issue of concern.  For this reason the advice was drawn up in association with relevant Muslim organisations, LGR and Defra.  Food enforcement officers are requested to:
a)  Use this advice when planning inspections, food sampling and labeling checks relating to Halal foods and,
b) take appropriate enforcement action.

2. Is it acceptable as a policy to slaughter Halal by machines in the poultry industry for the Muslim community here in the UK?

All relevant parties will be informed about the pending arbitration by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal in due course, allowing both sides to have the opportunity to present their case.

Naved Syed
Halal Adviser to YABA