APPG on religious meat slaughter deemed ‘anti-Muslim’

Muslim representatives from the halal meat industry have hit out at today’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) debate, calling it ‘anti-Muslim’.

The debate, headed up by Neil Parish MP, chairman of the APPG for beef and lamb, will look at the nine recommendations made in the recent APPG report ‘Meat Slaughtered in Accordance with Religious Rites’. The report called for greater research on labelling and the effects of stunning.

Naved Syed, managing director of halal meat company Janan Meats, told that his 10-point list of animal welfare concerns that was sent to Neil Parish has still not been responded to. He believes these concerns are of more significance than those in non-stun/stun argument.

He said: “This group is not concerned about animal welfare, but is anti-semitic and anti-Muslim. Why are they hell-bent on starting at the back end of the animal’s life and not at the beginning of the animal’s life? About 15-18 million male live chicks are put in grinders each week in this country."

The Halal Authority Board (HAB) made similar complaints. Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, head of certification at HAB, said: “It appears that government wishes to single out and outlaw religious un-stunned slaughter under the guise of ‘animal welfare’. The evidence as to which method is the ‘least painful’ is quite subjective and not sufficiently definitive to create policy with. There are still numerous practices approved by government, such as maceration, ear-tagging, castration and dehorning, which cause unnecessary pain and cruelty to animals, yet these go on un-stunned and un-discussed."

Syed also expressed concerns over the finances involved. He said: “The question that needs to be asked is who is paying for the research? These nine recommendations that the APPG report has highlighted – the research alone will cost the tax payer over £15 million.

“The last research that was carried out for halal was by the Food Standards Agency, which issued guidance for Local Authority enforcement officers on halal food issues in February 2003, at a cost of over £5 million of tax payer’s money, and it had taken five years in writing, which has never been used.”

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