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School serving "only" halal meat - interested in Chritian/Muslim views?

(111 Posts)
Ladymuck Fri 13-Oct-06 16:29:30

I've been informed that ds's school has recently started only serving halal meat. They haven't communicated this to parents (or at least non-Muslim parents), and I have to say it is slightly confusing as to exactly what they do, other than it is certain that all beef is halal (they are still serving up ham sandwiches, so something is not entirely consist!).

All children eat school dinner - packed lunch is not an option. The school is private but with a "Church of England ethos", including Harvest festival, carol service, assemblies etc. The school has pupils with a huge range of backgrounds. In ds's class about a quarter are Muslim. As far as I can see the school has opted for the simplest option, so there isn't a non-halal main meal on offer.

For my own part I don't have any problem with ds eating halal meat. However there does seem to be some disquiet - apparently some of the Muslim mothers had been making various comments about the Christian and Jewish boys all eating meat blessed by Allah. In turn one of the mums is now making waves about "food offered to idols" being forbidden to Christians. Before we end up in a huge row I wanted to get some opinions.

* For Muslims, what are the implications of non-muslims eating halal? I wouldn't have expected there to be any, but it seems to have caused an issue here?

* For Christians, there seems to be an issue about meat offered to idols? Anyone come across this in their schools as I know a lot of London state schools now offer halal as the main meal (but I guess packed lunch is an option).

diNOLOOKINGOVERYOURSHOULDERsau Fri 13-Oct-06 16:40:03

Islam has no idols, so I don't see how there could be an issue with "food offered to idols".

KathyMCMLXXII Fri 13-Oct-06 16:42:01

In the past there used to be complaints about halal meat on animal welfare grounds, but you never hear about this any more and I wonder if they were actually spurious (I mean, hard to imagine it being worse than the standard mechanised slaughterhouse.)

TwigTwoolett Fri 13-Oct-06 16:44:39

sounds like vicious rumours to me

I can never imagine any muslim muttering anything about other people eating halal meat .. its hardly sacriligious

and I've never heard the christian issue about meat offered to idols? what's that about then?

I spy racist mutterings and rumour-mongering

I'd squash with them with a 'don't be absurd .. who started that stupid rumour " personally

BloodRedRubyRioja Fri 13-Oct-06 16:46:21

My understanding is that some Christians are not happy with halal slaughter methods (no stunning esp), I think this tends to be a bloomin' cop out making it easy to have a single food supplier.

Simplest route would be to have all vegetarian meals!

colditz Fri 13-Oct-06 16:46:47

interesting read

Blu Fri 13-Oct-06 16:48:49

LadyMuck - meat being hahal just means it has been reared and slauightered within the Islamic practice. I daresay these mothers have never turned a hair if they go, for e.g to a salt beef bar where the meat is v likely to be kosher!

I used to wonder about animal welfare of halal and kosher meat (because they both require the animal to be bled) but having seen that documantary last year about abbatoirs, the only decent humane behaviour demonstated towards the animals was from the halal and kosher practitioners who came in to do that meat.

It sounds as if there is some very dubious trouble-making going on from this one mother!

Cappuccino Fri 13-Oct-06 16:50:25

i think I would be unhappy about this as it's a huge animal welfare issue

just when we're trying to convince people to source meat from ethical farmers in Britain with full traceability, and pushing schemes like RSPCA freedom food, which assures higher standards of animal welfare, the idea of halal meat is a bit alarming

the british public called for these measures after BSE - traceability, more transparency about slaughter and welfare methods, etc etc

MrsSpoon Fri 13-Oct-06 16:54:01

That BBC article had me almost ROFL when you think of the state of the British meat industry, the cruelty that has been reported or uncovered and all the grotesque things you could find in an average fast food chain hamburger and yet there is complaint about an animal being killed by "a single cut to the throat" because apparently "stunning with a bolt into the head" is much kinder. I have just read on another site (was Googling Halal meat) that the way Halal meat is killed means that it can be bled properly, the animals are herbivores and are not given hormones. The item I was reading did however say that Halal meat is prepared by Muslims who say "praise be to Allah" whilst preparing the meat.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 13-Oct-06 16:54:05

I wouldn't be happy about the welfare thing either, or about the lack of consultation.

But aside from that it seems very odd to object to meat because somebody has said some stuff you don't believe in near it.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 13-Oct-06 16:56:04

mrsspoon: stunning first is much kinder, sorry. It takes a while for an animal to bleed to death. and the fact that some instances of (illegal) cruelty exist doesn't justify legal cruelty.

Cappuccino Fri 13-Oct-06 16:56:45

mrsspoon I don't know what 'the state of the british meat industry' means, but I have worked with farmers and I'd say that imo it's the best it has ever been - certainly I would never buy meat from any other country because the standards brought into place in Britain after BSE in order to restore confidence are much higher than any other even EU country has to measure up to

SenoraPostrophe Fri 13-Oct-06 16:57:02

also non hala meat is bled properly, it's just done after the animal is unconcsious.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 13-Oct-06 16:58:45

...and the use of growth hormones in cattle is banned in europe

Ladymuck Fri 13-Oct-06 16:59:10

Well the issue seemed to be more something to do with the religious side of things than whether or not the method of slaughter was humane (well at least no-one has raised this within my hearing!). I think that the school may have mishandled this by communicating the change just to some parents and not others tbh. Still it is interesting watching the sparks fly. My only real concern would be that there is something that the boys would pick up on and use against each other.

What are the religious implications of muslims eating ham sandwiches then? I can't quite understand the reasoning that all beef should be halal so taht all boys can eat it, yet they put a plate of ham sandiches out at the end of the main course for everyone to help themselves!

Cappuccino Fri 13-Oct-06 16:59:48

personally I'd rather be unconscious before I was strung upside down to watch blood pour out of my neck

but that's just me

KathyMCMLXXII Fri 13-Oct-06 17:01:01

I agree MrsSpoon - given what is revealed in regular exposees of ordinary slaughterhouses, objecting to halal meat on welfare grounds seems to me incredibly naive.

colditz Fri 13-Oct-06 17:01:58

Is it turkey ham?

MrsSpoon Fri 13-Oct-06 17:07:43

I am by no means an expert, nor am I am Muslim nor someone who would seek out Halal meat however from what I have read it would appear that the animal can be bled more fully if slaughtered in the Halal way than if slaughtered post stun gun.

With all due respect the British meat industry is only now waking up to the fact that feeding animals for slaughter on other animals and pumping them full of hormones to make them grow fatter is not a great idea.

Blu Fri 13-Oct-06 17:08:17

In the documentary the cut was so deep, wide and swift that the animal appeared to expire almost immediately.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 13-Oct-06 17:09:45

MrsS: you've been reading stuff that relates to the US. hormones have been banned here for some time, as have regulations relating to feeding meat to cattle.

Cappuccino Fri 13-Oct-06 17:13:14

'the British meat industry is only now waking up to the fact that feeding animals for slaughter on other animals and pumping them full of hormones to make them grow fatter is not a great idea'

I can't begin to tell you, with my experience of working with the farming community (as a journalist, so not with any axe to grind politically) how completely I disagree with that statement

the British meat industry is one of the only ones who has fully woken up to a lot of the problems, and that process started a long while ago

MrsSpoon Fri 13-Oct-06 17:13:39

In this country animals have been fed hormones and fed other animals fairly recently, ie the last 10 years or less and would have no doubt continued had it not been for BSE etc.

edam Fri 13-Oct-06 17:16:56

I'm not comfortable with halal meat on animal welfare grounds (no stunning) although I hear what Blu is saying. Claims of cruelty among slaughter houses preparing non-halal meat don't mean you can just say, there you go, no problem - you have to tackle both. Speaking as a vegetarian who has seen the inside of a slaughter house...

But as for objections on cultural grounds, I can't see why halal meat would be a problem for any non-Muslim who does eat meat. And have never heard of Muslims objecting to anyone else eating halal.

Cappuccino Fri 13-Oct-06 17:17:15

so the argument is they don't do it now, but it still counts because something stopped them?

so are other countries who never acknowledged BSE (including some smart spin from US farmers) and have continued to use the hormones worse, or better?

am confused...

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