At least ten top higher education establishments – including Oxford and the University of Manchester – are secretly serving up meat from un-stunned animals. In Manchester, 85% of all meat served is unlabeled halal meat, while none of the halal chicken served at Sheffield and Exeter is marked as so.
UK Daily Mail (h/t winterepirit78) The findings were unearthed through a Freedom of Information request which was sent to 126 establishments. But just 25 responded – meaning the problem could be more widespread than currently thought.
THE UNIVERSITIES SELLING HALAL IN SECRET
University of Manchester
University of Sheffield
University of Exeter
University of Lincoln
University of Kent
The news comes after it was revealed last week that leading restaurants were serving Halal meat without informing their customers. Halal meat comes from animals which have had their cuts slit while still alive, in accordance with Islamic traditions. But the animals are not stunned beforehand, nor are their spinal cords cut, which leaves them pain for up to 10 or 15 minutes while they bleed out.
Now – according to student newspaper The Tab – nearly half of the universities that responded to the request are serving Halal meat without making students aware.
At Kent University, 70 per cent of the meat served is unlabelled Halal while at Sheffield and Exeter, all the chicken is served Halal-style, but is not labelled as so. Cardiff and Lincoln were also found to be among the universities serving significant quantities of the meat, without telling consumers.
Of the 35 Oxbridge colleges that responded to the Freedom of Information Act request, only two did not serve any Halal meat, according to the paper.
And when the suppliers were contacted to see if they supplied stunned or unstunned meat, many suppliers did not know. A spokesman for meat supplier 3663, which serves Kent and Northumbria, said: ‘Currently, we do not collect information on the method of slaughter.’
Fears over the correct labelling of Halal meat came to light earlier this month when it was revealed several leading chains were serving the meat to unsuspecting customers. Subway was one leading chain which had decided to secretly swap meat for Halal products, while Pizza Express was exposed for failing to inform consumers that some food they were purchasing contained Halal. It was also revealed that leading supermarkets are selling New Zealand lamb killed in accordance with halal ritual without providing labels.
The RSPCA condemned this method of non-stunned slaughter and the unethical practice of non-labelling being carried out at several UK universities. A spokesperson said: ‘Scientific research has clearly shown that slaughter of an animal without stunning can cause unnecessary suffering, and so we are opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first making it insensible to pain and distress.’
‘Our concern has nothing to do with the expression of religious belief but with the practice of killing by throat cutting without pre-stunning. Universities should only be serving meat that is stunned prior to slaughter. ‘We are calling for labelling to refer to stun or non-stun slaughter rather than a method of ‘religious’ slaughter.’
This call for change in current legislation is being championed by the British Veterinary Association. President Robin Hargreaves said: ‘British Veterinary Association is campaigning for an end to the practice of non-stun slaughter which compromises animal welfare at the time of death.
‘We would like to see all universities taking a proactive approach on animal welfare and only sourcing their meat from abattoirs that pre-stun before slaughter.’
Alex McGhee, President of the Association of Veterinary Students, said: ‘The fact that students are consuming non-stun meat without their knowledge is appalling. ‘While non-stun slaughter continues it is absolutely imperative for students to be able to make choices based on both religious and animal welfare grounds.’
A spokesman for Northumbria University said: ‘We work closely with all of our suppliers to source high-quality ingredients to serve our customers. There is no legal requirement for Halal meat to be labelled. However, two of our suppliers – Ginsters and Urban Eat – label all products where they contain Halal meat ingredients.’We continue to work with our suppliers to make all labelling as clear and informative as possible for our customers.’
A University of Manchester spokesman said: ‘The university uses a well-established local catering butcher and a large UK-based catering company to supply its meat and food products containing meat.
‘The proportion of Halal meat served on campus is indicative of how the animal was slaughtered but we only label products as Halal if they have been transported, stored and prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.
‘There is no national certification scheme for Halal and meat slaughtered in a way that complies with Islamic dietary laws is consumed widely across the UK. For example, chicken used in packaged sandwiches is commonly slaughtered according to Halal standards, as often is New Zealand lamb.’
The Halal meat market in the UK is worth around £2.6billion a year – and it is expected to soar.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Subway has removed ham and bacon from almost 200 fast food outlets and switched to Halal meat alternatives in an attempt to please its Muslim customers. Turkey ‘ham’ and turkey rashers will be used instead in 185 of its stores, where all the meat will now be prepared according to Halal rules.
The chain, which has around 1,500 outlets across the UK, explained its decision by saying it had to balance animal welfare concerns with ‘the views of Muslim communities’.
Traditional Halal slaughter has animals having their throats slit before bleeding to death. In Britain, killing an animal without prior stunning is illegal, but the law gives special exemption to Muslim meat producers on the grounds of religion.
Muslims are forbidden from eating any non-Halal food and meat from pigs and Subway said customers can identify those stores selling halal food by the special ‘All meats are Halal’ sign, which must be displayed in participating branches.