Calls have been made to look at the way animals are slaughtered before being served as meat in Lancashire’s schools.
A motion put forward at a meeting of Lancashire County Council has asked for only meat where the animal is stunned before being killed to be provided.
The move has caused ‘confusion’ among Muslim leaders in Lancashire, saying the practice could go against Halal rules.
Halal is the description of food and drink Muslims are allowed to consume under Islamic law, which requires animals to be alive prior to slaughter.
Coun Geoff Driver, who put forward the motion, said: “This is not a matter about Halal, it is a matter about animal cruelty.
“The process of slaughtering an animal without stunning it involves severing at least three of the four main arteries, and as any number of the videos you can see online show, the animal dies in considerable distress.
“There is an alternative that is acceptable to the vast majority of Muslims in this country. The Halal Food Authority certifies meat as Halal provided the animal is only stunned and not killed before the animal is slaughtered, before the religious process commences. They tell me that 80 per cent of all Halal food in this country is prepared in this way.”
Hanif Dudhwala, spokesman for the Halal group at the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: “Coun Geoff Driver was in leadership for three years and in that time the council provided meat for Muslim children which was not stunned, so this motion is something we don’t understand.
“We are not forcing anything on anyone else. If we feel we want our meat in a particular way that is in our faith and conforms to law, there should be no obstruction to that.
“If it’s an ethical issue, he should come out and say he wants all children in Lancashire, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish, to only be served vegetarian food. It is still taking a life of an animal, if you stun it or if you don’t.”
The council agreed the matter will be referred to the scrutiny committee for consideration.