The National Front party has invited party members to walk through the town of Skegness on Saturday, 15 September, to oppose the possible opening of a halal slaughterhouse there.
According to National Front deputy chairman Kevin Bryan, it will be a peaceful protest about the “terms of approval” of the abattoir. He said: “We don’t approve of halal because we feel the methods are very cruel and don’t follow the UK guidelines.”
Bryan also explained that he didn’t agree with halal, the religion it came from and that “killing an animal by cutting its throat without being pre-stunned was cruel”.
However, a spokesperson from the Halal Monitoring Committee told meatinfo.co.uk that the methods used by Muslims to kill animals for food were humane and “conducive to the welfare of animals”.
The spokesperson added: “We hope the potential protesters will see sense that halal is not cruel or evil and is a method that is conducive to animal welfare and that we live in a community and country that respects differences, a multiculturalism that was seen celebrated so wonderfully during the Olympic Games.”
According to the UK Welfare of Animals (slaughter or killing) regulations, the person carrying out animal slaughter must have the knowledge and skill to do their job humanely and efficiently. Slaughtermen must also be competent and hold a registered licence and an animal must not suffer unnecessarily.
However, provisions in UK law for religious slaughter permit the slaughter of animals without stunning to meet Jewish and Muslim religious requirements. These provisions, according to the government, are in recognition of the “needs” of certain communities. The provisions do, however, still require the animal to be treated humanely and for the person slaughtering the animal to be licensed.
The government, according to a spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), would prefer to see all animals stunned before slaughter. “We respect the rights of the Jewish and Muslim communities to eat meat prepared in accordance with their religious beliefs.
“The government has no plans to ban religious slaughter. However, changes to all rules on welfare at slaughter will be required when a new EU regulation on welfare at the time of killing comes into effect in January 2013,” said the spokesperson.