School meals storm brewing

WIGAN schools are serving halal meat to pupils.

Halal meat is the traditional Muslim way of preparing meat. Wigan’s Muslim population is fewer than five per cent of the borough’s total population.

The decision to serve the meat has angered parents concerned about animal cruelty.

It emerged today that meat supplied to Wigan schools by Wigan Council caterers, Metrofresh, is prepared in accordance with Sharia law.

The traditional Islamic way of preparing meat involves killing animals by drawing a knife across their throats, without stunning them first – the usual method in British slaughterhouses.

Sharia law forbids using a stun gun so, instead, the animal must be conscious when its throat is cut and the blood allowed to drip from the carcass while a religious phrase in praise of Allah is recited.

One mum, who did not want to be named, said: “I rang the council to ask if they served halal meat in Wigan schools and they confirmed it.

“The woman who answered said it was for diversity needs.

“I can’t believe my children are made to eat meat that has been inhumanely slaughtered. I am so angry about this.”

Metrofresh said they did not list on menus whether the dish uses halal meat or not.

Wigan Council’s strategic manager for Metrofresh, Debbie Clarke, confirmed halal meat was on school menus. She said: “Metrofresh uses halal and non-halal meat and meat products.

“We buy what is fit for purpose and the most economically advantageous deal.

“We buy all our meat from reputable operations that adhere to the appropriate EU legislation with regards to animal welfare.”

Animal welfare campaigners have long called for a ban on this type of meat preparation.

Colin Ives, co-owner of vegan and vegetarian restaurant The Coven, said: “I think it would be fair to let people know if they were eating halal meat, but it would also be important to address people’s ignorance on this.

“The way all meat is prepared is cruel, but I think people should know about both ways of slaughtering.”