There have been concerns over the slaughter methods of Halal meat. Photo: Jonny Hughes / Flickr
There have been concerns over the slaughter methods of Halal meat. Photo: Jonny Hughes / Flickr

Concerns over Halal meat on campus

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Samantha Hopps, second-year Literature student, has been investigating Halal meat and the slaughter ethics of meat on campus.

Ms Hopps investigated the sourcing of meat at the Bread Oven, the Dirty Duck, and Xananas. She met with the Food and Beverages department at the Students’ Union (SU).

Ms Hopps discovered that all of the chicken and lamb used at SU outlets were Halal.

She also found that 88 percent of chickens slaughtered for Halal meat in 2011 were stunned before they died, according to the UK Food Standards Agency.

Stunning before slaughter is considered the most humane method in the United Kingdom.

There have been concerns throughout the nation over the slaughter methods of Halal meat. The Qur’an dictates that the animal must be alive at the point of slaughter and each animal must be slaughtered individually while a prayer is spoken.

Traditionally, this has caused concern for some as Halal meat was not stunned before slaughter, as is common practice with standard meat in the UK. It was also excluded from The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations, which meant that it could legally be slaughtered without being stunned first.

However, the UK now uses a stunning technique which does not instantly kill the animal, allowing for the animal to still be killed in the Halal method.

While the SU Food and Beverages department have yet to provide Ms Hopps with the full data, she said: “The Food and Beverage Department were really willing to meet with me and discuss the matter and were incredibly helpful.

“The SU should be an ethical organisation, I feel that we as members should be able to hold it accountable for its policies.”

Some students remain concerned that the SU had taken to using only Halal chicken and lamb.

A first-year Ancient History student stated: “I know historically there have been problems with Halal meat and animal welfare. The SU needs to be able to tell us as students that it is getting meat from the best place possible.”

Saveena Mangat, first-year Economics student, was concerned about the provision of Halal meat with regards to her religion: “We should have an option, why make all the meat Halal?

“In my religion (Sikhism) we’re not actually allowed to eat Halal meat. By providing Halal meat, you are excluding a whole religion.”

A Christian first-year Politics and International Studies student commented: “It’s disgusting that only Islamic meat is provided and no others. How is it acceptable for me to eat blessed meat of another religion that is different to my own?

“To effectively impose a monopoly on my choice leads me to question whether their religion (Islam) is prioritised over my own.”

Cindy Asokan, first-year Politics and International Studies student and Warwick Anti-Racism Society member, commented: “The concerns towards Halal meat can be legitimate but when the discussion accidentally becomes Islamophobic, that becomes a problem.

“People have a right to know what they are eating, but lately media outlets like the Daily Mail have been very critical without knowing the facts behind Halal meat. We have to be careful when discussing it.”

She also added: “It’s also unlikely that the SU will pay extra for normal meat. That will have to be introduced over time.”

Other students were less concerned about the provision of Halal meat. First-year Engineering student Mekaeel Malik said that although the variety was limited, “there is enough available”.

Warwick SU’s Food and Beverage manager highlighted that a move away from serving solely Halal chicken and lamb could cost the SU “tens of thousands of pounds” while potentially slowing down service times in outlets such as the Bread Oven.

SU president Ben Sundell stressed: “The SU does not support one group over another.”

Meanwhile, the University’s own food outlets stock mainly non-Halal meat with Halal options available by request.

Kelly Parkes-Harrison, a senior press and communications manager from the University, revealed that 1.2 percent of total meat purchased was Halal.

She added: “The remaining puraw meat is Red Tractor Certificated and British sourced.”

The Red Tractor certification ensures that the meat is provided by suppliers who comply with strict animal welfare guidelines.

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Comments (8)

  • Fantastic article, really well written, so balanced well done to all of you. You could work at the Daily Mail

  • This is a matter of Religious Freedom.

    Only
    4.8 of British consumers are Followers of Islam – so how do we find ourselves
    in a situation where the many Food Outlets, Schools and now the Student’s Union
    is selling ONLY Unlabelled Halal Meat?

    Do
    they care that they have been hoodwinking Sikhs into buying this when their
    religion FORBIDS kuttah (Halal meat)?… AND it is not just the Sikhs…
    Christians are also forbidden to eat halal meat… 1 Corinthians 10:28-29

    28 But
    if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat
    it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.
    29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours…

    Muslims
    will argue that halal is permissible for all and say that they will eat kosher if they could not get halal meat, but a
    devout Jew would become a vegetarian rather than eat halal meat, because it
    comes from an animal that has been dedicated to a foreign idol, Not the God of
    Israel.
    I really don’t
    think that Pagans, Secularists or Atheists would choose Ritually Slaughtered
    meat IF they could truly make a reasoned choice either.

    Not
    only are many students unaware of the ritual slaughter facts, but this halal
    meat is typically sold to shoppers & consumers throughout the UK mostly
    Unlabelled as such as well. 98% of all chicken in Britain is now Halal
    Certified and halal meat is exported to Non-Islamic countries as Best of British under such Brand Names as ‘St.George’. Consumers need to wake up and ask WHY?

    Why… when
    95% of British Shoppers & consumers are not Followers of Islam? Most Brits do not
    require halal certificates at all… and they certainly do not want to pay for
    them in these times of austerity.

    Article
    9 Human Rights Act. regarding Freedom of Conscience

    This
    Act should give us the right to religious and secular freedom, i.e. to not be forced to participate
    in religious rites. Dedicating
    this meat to a god violates this right: hence there is forced participation in another’s religion without
    consent. Also Jews, Sikhs & Christians are specifically instructed not to eat this meat, so where is their religious
    freedom?

    UK
    Human Rights Blog

    http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/incorporated-rights/articles-index/article-9/

    • omg you’re gonna eat meat that Muslims have blessed. Uh-OH! Looks like you’ve been radicalised. 🙄

      • I have replied, but my reply does not seem to be showing.
        I included an attachment of the Original Licence of Exemption from conventional stunning, which clearly states that halal meat is to be sold to muslims only – not everyone.
        I hope the SU have received it.
        It is not me that has been radicalised… it is the SU Food outlets that have been radicalised… shame no one seems to be able to see that.

      • Stephen Duncan

        Claudia, your choice of wording (‘blessed’, ‘radicalised’) is very naive. Do yourself a favour and watch a video of a halal slaughter, then come back for a proper discussion.

  • Are you eating SU Chicken or Lamb?
    Is it labelled as 100% Halal Ritually Slaughtered?
    More misleading inaccuracies unfold as there is no mention of the fact that the
    Lambs will only get a HEAD ONLY REVERSIBLE STUN, not the conventional stun which will be to the HEAD & the HEART and renders the animal IRREVERSIBLY unconscious & insensible to pain.
    With conventional slaughter the livestock is stunned to a permanent state of unconsciousness, whereas with halal the animal begins to regain consciousness within 15 seconds & fully recovers within 30-60 seconds!
    Prof.Grandin says with halal Reversible Stunning [RS] “You’ve got to be quick!”
    …Or the livestock will be fully conscious, but unable to move or vocalise its pain! The HMC & ANSA halal authorities would argue that this reversible
    stun is more cruel than no stun at all!
    Meanwhile the Students Union is supporting the Halal Industry which ONLY employ Muslim Slaughtermen!
    Is the SU unconcerned about marginalisation of British workers?
    All halal slaughterhouses are Registered Charities, because any sane Muslim Male over the age of 18 can become a Halal Slaughtermen – without any training at all – they apply for a Licence and learn on the job – this is why all halal slaughterhouses are classed as Educational Establishments and are Registered Charities… then as Not-For-Profit Charities they get many concessions including paying no business tax and only 20% Council Tax… that is why the meat is Cheap… they are undercutting our conventional Slaughterhouses & Farmers – does anyone care?
    The halal industry now boast that Halal Meat turnover is now in excess of £2.6 Billion… while the Halal Industry as a whole boasts a turnover of over £28 Billion a year.
    How much does halal certification racket cost? Well one Abattoir Secretary disclosed that the slaughterhouse they work at pay in excess of £28,000 a year to the halal authority for the halal certificate… it would cost even more to label all the processed halal meat, per batch, if they wanted to use the halal authorities logo on the packaging.
    Where does all the money go?
    Well as the halal authorities are all Not-For Profit Charities as well – after costs It is given to muslim charities… like the local Mosque. The money must go to Islamic ends… not back into the British Economy in these times of austerity.

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