Lancashire ban unstunned Halal meat in schools

Lancashire county council voted yesterday to ban unstunned Halal meat being served at schools.

But Conservative county leader, Geoff Driver, who has championed the proposal, has been accused of running a “crusade” against the slaughter procedure.

Although 24 councillors voted against the ban, 41 favoured it with 15 abstaining after “a heated debate” last night, according to The Guardian newspaper.

People will pull out of school meals and people who should eat properly will be deprived of that. – Lancashire Council of Mosques

While Driver has called the stunning of animals before slaughter “abhorrent” and “really cruel”, Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) has accused him of leading a “crusade”.

LCM’s chair, Abdul Qureshi, has reportedly said that the vote will “create a huge difficulty”.

According to the BBC, he added: “People will pull out of school meals and people who should eat properly will be deprived of that. For us it’s a matter of faith. For Geoff Driver it is his feelings.”

During the debate, Tory councillor Andrew Snowden, who reportedly said the issue was about “the minimum treatment we expect animals to receive”, was rebutted by Labour’s Lorraine Beavers who accused the Tories of using the county’s 12,000 children as a “political football”.

The Guardian reported that “the motion sent a message to children of a particular faith that they were not being respected by the Conservative-led council”.

But Driver insisted that the vote was not about anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, but animal welfare.

A report drawn up prior to the council meeting by an “unnamed author(s)” has acknowledged, says The Guardian, that while LCM was not directly contacted “to avoid any unnecessary upset”, the organisation is “likely to boycott school meals if the council implemented the ban on non-stunned meat”.

The report has also recognised that the controversy over the debate has “resulted in community tensions and fed the agenda of the far right”.

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