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to be very suprised at the school letter about Halal meat?

(436 Posts)
fromparistoberlin Sat 04-May-13 09:55:13

opended DS bag and read a letter with a voting slip basically saying

alot of parents have asked for Halal meat (fair enough)
The school dinner providers can only do Halal OR non-Halal (erm we are in London, slightly surpised)

so we either vote for ALL Halal, or non Halal

so basically an ethical dilemna!

Vote A, feel like a bigot

Vote B, feel slightly uncomfortable that something I dont really fully understand is being imposed

I am going to write and say this is a really unfair way to handle it and they should fucking change suppliers, we are in London FFS

nice little ethical mind fuck THANKS school!

edam Sun 12-May-13 12:30:46

I agree with blu, very divisive way to handle it. I am veggie, ds is not. I would object to the only meat option being halal on animal welfare grounds- I don't see why one belief, religious, trumps equally firm beliefs against cruelly.

MrsRickyMartin Sun 12-May-13 12:17:55

Halal, kosher, 'regular' way of killing animals, they are all the same to me, you end up with a dead animal.

Disclaimer: I married into a vegeterian family.

fromparistoberlin Sun 12-May-13 08:00:56

YES its a state school

haved written, no answer back! we shall see eh

ubik Fri 10-May-13 11:10:36

All our school/nursery meat is halal.

Sausages are veggie.

No one seems to mind.

valiumredhead Fri 10-May-13 11:05:34

How odd, ds's school has just started using Halal meat but only for those that want it and it's kept in a separate fridge apparently.

Blu Fri 10-May-13 11:03:09

I think by setting up a vote like this the school are handling it very badly.

Most schools consider catering to religious sensibilities is important to equal opportunities, inclusion, diversity and social cohesion.

And yes, catering companies in London should be able to offer more than 'all or nothing'.

Fish dishes / veggie / halal chicken / non halal lasagne, for e.g.

I would give feedback on the bad consultation process.

But for myself, I think mass produced meat animal welfare is already so bad that demurring over stunned halal lamb or chicken is a bit hair splitting.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Fri 10-May-13 10:53:09

This thread is working wonders for me in reinforcing my decision to not eat meat. Keep up the good work MNers.

BackOnlyBriefly Fri 10-May-13 10:36:44

Forget the 'ethical suppliers'. That's a red herring really. Mostly about me not being entitled to an opinion because I don't use ethical suppliers anyway.

the MAJORITY of muslims, not just in the UK, but in many countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South East Asia, consider stunning as compatible with halal. and the rest don't matter?

You keep saying the 'majority' as though that means something. We're talking about appeasing those who want hallal who are not the majority either so why dismiss the muslims who consider stunned meat to be haram just because they are outnumbered?

It's no good trying to deny that they exist either. Crescent are you a muslim? if so is this like the Roman Catholics versus Protestants thing?

My point then is that if you say we must do what people's religion requires then we must kill animals without even stunning them first. While still awake.

I don't know the best way to kill them, but I doubt that cutting them while still conscious is it. So we're going to have to ignore the beliefs of some people aren't we. In fact we already.

I want an ongoing search for better methods and as we find them I want them used. This agreement would mean the method could never be changed.

as for Sikhs yes if they are forbidden to - and its not just halal meat but meat blessed by any other religion - then it is unjust to force them to eat halal. but the school of the OP are asking parents to decide, and the OP herself will write her own objections in as well as voting.

So if it is decided to go all hallal then any Sikh children can just bugger off back where they came from?

Is this a state school? not sure it was ever made clear.

crescentmoon Wed 08-May-13 15:09:36

and they already use other methods - chickens are gassed, or stunned unconscious and then boiled alive. pigs are also gassed. do you think those new modern methods are better? to me even 'how sharp is the blade' is an issue let alone to talk of actual methods.

crescentmoon Wed 08-May-13 15:05:59

so back to stunning

"Some Muslims have decided that stunning isn't a deal breaker"

the MAJORITY of muslims, not just in the UK, but in many countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South East Asia, consider stunning as compatible with halal.

to repeat, though iv said it over and over that if one's objection to halal meat is stunning then the majority of UK halal meat - 9 times out of 10 - is stunned.

"then I don't see how you can morally dismiss the requirements of the more devout Muslims."

not just here because its the UK, muslims eat stunned meat even in fundamentalist saudi arabia too (a big market for New Zealand meat where it is well known that it is stunned) and many other religious bodies have issued notices explaining the permissibility of stunning.

when i say permissibility that means, that it is not a requirement of halal slaughter but if stunning is involved then it the meat is still halal.

(link, fatwas on stunning)

"If I had my way schools would have to get meat from ethical suppliers right now, but we never will be able to if we have to appease religious groups. "

what do you mean ethical suppliers? some here think 'oh halal cant be organic' but just as with the rest of the population organic halal meat is very expensive. but its there. i mentioned Abraham natural produce an organic halal farm in Somerset. there is another organic halal farm in Oxford that sells halal meat. both farms stun their animals and provide organic halal meat to UK muslims. but its very expensive - the same reason why normal organic meat is not sold in schools.

(iv volunteered there and taken my children there too!)

but backonly - whether organic or not those animals are all still slaughtered the same way. and thats what i keep going back to and asking.

the UK uses the sticking method not because of Kosher or halal religious requirements but that it is found to be the best way. halal method is close to sticking except with the prayer. and its not mechanised it involves a human being checking the status of each animal not just running a machine blade through a line of animals strung up and hoisted together.

as for Sikhs yes if they are forbidden to - and its not just halal meat but meat blessed by any other religion - then it is unjust to force them to eat halal. but the school of the OP are asking parents to decide, and the OP herself will write her own objections in as well as voting.

BackOnlyBriefly Wed 08-May-13 13:47:10

Jinsei, it's not a matter of choosing where to get your meat from since in many cases there is no choice. In schools for example. That's kinda what we were talking about.

If I had my way schools would have to get meat from ethical suppliers right now, but we never will be able to if we have to appease religious groups.

crescentmoon You asked and I answered.

If we have agreed that religious sensibilities trump everything else then we must have all meat killed the proper halal way. That means not stunning it at all. Which is clearly less humane.

Some Muslims have decided that stunning isn't a deal breaker and some here are suggesting ignoring those muslims who want it done as Allah told them. If you'd going to put religion first then I don't see how you can morally dismiss the requirements of the more devout Muslims.

In any case we have established that some religious people are forbidden to eat halal meat. So if we say that we must respect religion that puts us in an impossible position. You have to choose to ignore one religion or the other. Which one? Shall we have a vote now?

In addition to this as I said before an agreement that religion must decide means that we cannot look for even more humane ways. Next year - or in a thousand years - we may find a method that's really good, but we will not be allowed to use it because Islam doesn't like it.

crescentmoon Wed 08-May-13 12:03:01

"The other argument I take issue with is that because animals are treated poorly it's ok for them to be treated worse to please god"

why treated worse? i asked you before backonly, iv asked others repeatedly as well not just you, is there a better way to slaughter an animal than cutting through its neck with a sharp knife to make death happen within a few seconds?

this is not just the halal method this is the widespread method across all UK abbatoirs. whether its for organic meat or non organic meat!

the issue is about slaughter not about how the animal lived - whether a cow was kept indoors all year round or allowed to roam freely over a large farm and eat grass instead of feed - both cows are still slaughtered the same way.

do you think electrocution is better?


shooting it through the head?

boiling it alive?

wringing its neck?

what are the criteria? should death for the animal be fast? or bloodless? or efficient? does it matter the condition of the blade IE sharp or blunt?

remember the UK consumes 900 million poultry a year, 30 million cows, sheep and pigs. what if money and time were no object - how would we slaughter those animals then?

yearoftherat Wed 08-May-13 11:49:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thermalsinapril Wed 08-May-13 11:18:05

Spot on "BackOnlyBriefly*.

infamouspoo Wed 08-May-13 11:10:38

I think with all the horse meat found in school dinners there's a lot more to worry about. I bet those horses werent treated very ethically.

Jinsei Tue 07-May-13 23:26:38

I know exactly what I'm saying thanks, don't need to say it out loud.

Everyone has a right to care what meat they eat, regardless of their religion. However, I think it's absurd to argue against halal meat on the grounds of animal welfare if you're not equally concerned about the welfare of animals slaughtered in a non-halal way. Have you ever seen what a "normal" abattoir is like?

If you are Muslim, then it's likely that you'll want to buy halal meat. If you're Jewish, you'll probably want kosher meat. If you care about animal welfare, you will probably buy your meat from a known ethical supplier, or else you just won't eat it. I can't see why anyone who did care about animal welfare would buy any old cheap meat from s takeaway chain, whether that was halal or not.

BackOnlyBriefly Tue 07-May-13 23:13:08

If you genuinely care about the welfare of the animals that you're eating, then you will take care to source your meat from a reliable ethical supplier, and then there won't be any danger of you eating halal meat against your wishes.

Someone's obviously not been paying attention.

Also I see people saying that we have no right to care what meat we eat but that muslims etc do have a right to care. Can't the posters taking that position see how hypocritical that is?

The other argument I take issue with is that because animals are treated poorly it's ok for them to be treated worse to please god.

Try saying it out loud in the privacy of your own homes and listen to what you are saying.

infamouspoo Tue 07-May-13 16:32:20

My kids school is non-dom/secular yet they have assemblies, sing hymns, do Easter/Christmas. You have Christianity coming out of your ears. I find it very intrusive.
I'm all for a secular education and thats before we get to the dining room!

Peachy Tue 07-May-13 14:44:36

(and whilst I'd love a secular school as Moomin says, it's simply not available to us as a catchment school and the other one in our small town is over subscribed in it's own catchment, let alone taking out of area applications! I am a Christian, but a minor branch and I believe in a secular educational system and Government)

Peachy Tue 07-May-13 14:42:24

Our school ( a CofW) manages to provide Halal, Non Halal (the majority) Veggie, and a further option (jacket potato / salad). We are a city with a decent sized Muslim population, and it has never been an issue. How bizarre it should become so for your LEA.. indeed, my son's ((admittedly small) village school manages to turn out a dairy free option as well each day just for him.

ophelia275 Tue 07-May-13 14:35:20

I think that the way the meat is prepared is not really an issue because at the end of the day, if you are a meat eater you are aware that you are eating something that has been killed and there isn't really a "nice" way to kill an animal, they all die at the end of the day and most of them are killed in a conveyor belt system of some sort. Therefore, although there may be a slight difference in the amount of pain the animal goes through (which I am not convinced about), I think it is a bit rich of any meat eater to be high and mighty about not eating halal or kosher meat because of the way the animal has been killed when ALL meat means that an animal has been killed and will be in some element of pain.

However, I don't think it would be fair to the non-Muslim children if it means they can no longer eat things like pork or bacon and I wonder why one religious preference trumps another (for example Sikh childrens dietary needs or Jewish childrens dietary needs, both of whom would not be able to eat halal meat if they are religious). I think it would perhaps be better to maintain the status quo and have those families, whether they are Muslims or vegetarians (or any groups that require a special diet) to bring in a packed lunch rather than expecting everyone else to adapt around them. For example, presumably at the moment, any orthodox Jewish children would be required to bring in a packed lunch box if they want to keep kosher as they wouldn't be able to eat food cooked in the main canteen that has non-kosher utensils/ingredients.

Moominsarehippos Tue 07-May-13 14:32:36

So the school is non-dom? So there shouldn't be any religious concessions then.

I guess that parents choose to send their children becasue is is not religious or because its not christian, or because its a good/better school. Do the kids ever pray (before meals, at school services or ceremonies)? If I was a very religious type, I'd go for a faith school, failing that a non-dom and expect children to all eat the same, wear the same uniform, attend the same lessons, etc.

I suppose people are concerned about the 'thin end of the wedge' - will other groups (not neccesarily religous) also ask for changes in the way the school operates? Will parents ask for female teachers to cover their legs, button up their blouses and cover their hair? Will they ask for segregated casses of boys and girls?

Where I grew up it was Catholic schools and Protestant schools. It was shit. We didn't all come out good christians, just suspicious and ignorant of the 'other lot'. This is why I don't approve of faith schools.

What are we teaching our kids - who do we obey? The Queen, the Country, God, Our God not Yours?

fromparistoberlin Tue 07-May-13 13:30:14

I chose to not attend a CofE school for that very reason infamouspoo
and I am christian!

no need to throw that one at me .... hmm

infamouspoo Tue 07-May-13 11:52:39

'like I said my main issue is around having a majority religious view potentially imposed in an essentially non religious school'

Cos that doesnt happen with Christianity. Oh wait....

ATJabberwocky Tue 07-May-13 11:24:58

I view Halal as marginally more cruel than 'normal', I do think the decision should reflect the pupil's needs, what about the Jewish or Sikh children?

Also, if pork is being prepared in the same kitchen doesn't this undermine the Halal meat being used?

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