A one month consultation has been launched on Lancashire County Council’s controversial plans to change its halal meat policy.
The council was threatened with a boycott of school meals and a legal challenge from the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) after it voted last year to ban the use of unstunned halal meat in county schools and other premises.
Non-stunned halal meat is currently provided in 27 schools catering for up to 12,000 students who can choose food from either halal or non-halal menus
County Council leader Geoff Driver had stressed he believed it essential for animal welfare that cattle be stunned before slaughter.
Now an online survey will be open for comment until March 7 at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay. Coun Driver said: “We know people have strong views on this issue and would encourage them to help shape future policy by taking part in this consultation.”
The council had agreed its new policy on meat provision, excluding poultry, when the contract to provide non-stunned halal meat was due for renewal. It promised consultation about the policy’s implementation.
The Lancashire Council of Mosques began the process of applying for a judicial review of the decision. It had claimed the issue was being “politicised unnecessarily” and would ”increase Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.”
This week its Chief Executive Abdul Hamid Qureshi welcomed the consultation but accused the council of creating “unnecessary division”.
He said : “We don’t want any stunned meat at all.If you have stunning and other processes it retains the blood to a certain extent in the meat. That’s not healthy. It’s our faith perspective.”