Halal abattoir Janan Meat opens to press and trade

A West Midlands abattoir that specialises in halal meat has held an open day for all-comers, to show how its use of new monitoring technology is raising standards.

More than 100 from the Muslim and non-Muslim meat trade and other interest groups spent the day touring Janan Meat, which employs 55 and has a throughput ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 lambs and sheep a week.

The open day was held to allay concerns in the Muslim community that halal principles were being correctly carried out on the slaughter line and, in other groups, that best meat production practices are being carried out. Managing director Naved Syed said: "There are problems of credibility with producing halal meat and we want to show that we have nothing to hide. We want to convince our Muslim community exactly how we do halal and show non-Muslims how we care for animal welfare."

Janan, which is trying to expand its sales into mainstream supermarkets and wholesalers, has recently installed a nine-camera monitoring system in its plant, which Syed claims is making staff pay more attention and take greater care in the way they deal with animals. As well as monitoring working standards, the new system will be used to train staff in best-practice. The plant also has a technologically advanced monitor that shows animals are being stunned into unconsciousness, but that they are still alive at the point of slaughter, a key principle of halal practices.

Visitors to the open day praised the company for its initiative. Ahmed Kazi of the Jame Masjid Mosque in Aston, Birmingham, watched the camera system in action alongside Iman Yusuf and colleagues from the Lancashire Council of Mosques.

Kazi said he welcomed the open day. "It's a good opportunity for groups like shopkeepers to see how the plant is set up. It shows people standards in Islam and in British law. It helps when people appreciate that this region does care about the animal."

Rizvan Khalid, executive director of Euro Quality Lambs, said he planned to hold his own open day when the time was right. All schoolchildren should go into abattoirs to see how meat is produced, he said.

Khalid and Syed are both on an Eblex-run steering group, which is gathering information on the size of the halal market and looking at issues in the sector with a view to future strategy.

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