The Telegraph reports that after a bitter and impassioned debate which ran on for hours on Thursday afternoon, the Conservative-controlled council voted for the ban. The campaign was fought between council leader Geoff Driver and part of the the local Muslim community.
In 2012, the council briefly stopped supplying halal meat to local schools over a production issue, but after children boycotted their school dinners, the unstunned meat was reinstated.
The council currently supplies 27 schools across the county with unstunned halal meat. According to research by the National Secular Society, four other local authorities use unstunned meat – Leeds, Bradford, Leicester, and Telford and Wrekin.
Many Muslims will not eat meat from animals which are pre-stunned, as they worry the stunning process could kill the animals, and eating meat from livestock which died before the ceremonial Halal slaughter process is “haram”, or forbidden.
The council leader, Geoff Driver, pushed for the end of non-stunned halal meat in schools. He said: “This is an animal welfare issue, nothing more, nothing less. My concern that animals that are slaughtered without being pre-stunned go through a lot of stress and torment when they’re actually dying.”
Abdul Qureshi, acting CEO of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, was advocating children boycott their school lunches if the vote went against him. He told The Telegraph: “[The RSPCA’s guidance] is most of the time based on feelings, it’s not scientifically conclusive.”
The RSPCA hit back at his claims. A spokesperson told The Telegraph: “ I utterly, completely refuse to cede that’s where our views come from. Ourselves, the British Veterinary Association and the Humane Slaughter Association signed a joint statement saying the only humane way to kill an animal is to stun it.”
Does your school serve halal meat? Have there been calls to ban unstunned meat in your local authority? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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