Over the last few weeks, some British supermarket chains such as Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and the Co-op have officially admitted that some of the meat they sell to the general public is produced according to halal (Islamic) rules.


Cow - Bethlehem, South Africa, 2011

Cow - Bethlehem, South Africa, 2011

Halal rules are applied differently in different parts of the world, but one of the key requirements is to avoid stunning methods used widely around the world, which are intended to spare the animals suffering at the time of slaughter.


Nevertheless, in recent years some Muslim communities have accepted certain methods of stunning, and British supermarkets claim that their suppliers have these methods in place. The supermarkets try to minimise the distinction between halal and other meat by claiming that the only difference is that with halal meat some blessings are said in the slaughterhouse.


Jewish and Muslim leaders have responded to this wave of news by sending a joint letter to the Daily Telegraph in which they call for “comprehensive labelling”, saying that this “should be supported by faith communities and animal welfare groups alike”.


In March an article appeared on this website reporting that the president-elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), John Blackwell, said he wanted to discuss the issue with Jewish and Muslim groups in order to find a compromise on ritual slaughter that puts more emphasis on the welfare of the animal.


In the meanwhile, the BVA has started an official petition to the British government calling for an end to slaughter without stunning in the UK (only UK citizens and residents can sign).


You can read an article on the debate in the UK on the BBC website.





British Members of the Parliament (MPs) have rejected the amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill tabled by Conservative MP Philip Davies that would have forced shops, supermarkets and anywhere serving food to clearly label products containing halal or kosher meat.


You can read the report on this vote on the BBC website.