Halal meat: David Cameron refuses to back meat labelling just a month after promising halal is 'safe in Britain'
The Prime Minister has avoided joining the heated row over halal and kosher slaughter and the labelling of meat
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Friday 09 May 2014
Just a month after promising the UK halal slaughter will be “safe in Britain” for as long as he is in power, David Cameron appears to have sidestepped the issue by refusing to intervene in the heated debate on the labelling of meat.
The Prime Minister avoided joining the row over halal and kosher slaughter and the labelling of meat that has continued to gather momentum throughout this week.
“Let me make it absolutely clear, that while I am prime minister of this country, halal is safe in Britain," he asserted, before promising the government would "keep on challenging the intolerant view of Muslims that exists in some part of our country".
On Thursday, Mr Cameron appeared to sidestep the request to back calls for labelling and indicated the Government would not intervene in the debate, with his spokesman explaining “the Prime Minister's view is that the approach we currently have is absolutely the right one.”
That evening, Mr Cameron was spotted very publicly enjoying a meal at popular chicken-house Nando's.
When asked if Mr Cameron was particularly bothered about how his meat is slaughtered, his spokesman answered: “I don’t believe the Prime Minister has concerns about the meat that he buys.”
Instead, Mr Cameron believes meat labelling "an issue of consumer choice and consumer information" – and thus not one for the PM to tackle directly.
chickens at a halal abattoir “It is a matter for retailers and restaurants to work with customers and consumer groups and representatives of faith organisations,” his spokesman continued. “Many consumers will rightly be very demanding of their retailers, the places they shop and the places they go out to eat.”
The most recent debate over meat produced by religious slaughter has been sparked by the restaurant chain Pizza Express’ admission that it exclusively uses halal chicken on all of its pizzas without clearly specifying this on its in-store menus.
Pizza Express said that all of the birds slaughtered for its chicken dishes were pre-stunned Religious groups have now joined animal welfare activists in calling for clearer labelling on products that contain halal meat, and Pizza Express has said it will review whether it includes the information on its menus.
The debate has become more politicised after the RSPCA's campaign called for “stunned or not stunned”, meat produced from animals should be “clearly labelled to allow consumer choice”, and they have been joined in that demand by representatives of both Jewish and Muslim groups.
Around 15 per cent of all halal slaughter in the UK is still done via the traditional method of slitting the animal’s throat while it remains conscious, making it hard to guarantee when eating halal meat that the animal was stunned beforehand.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability for the British Retail Consortium said it did not see the need to separately label meat based on slaughter method, because "the overwhelming majority of meat sold in UK supermarkets is own-brand and from animals that have been stunned prior to slaughter."
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...