English county bans kosher slaughter

Lancashire County, on the suburbs of Manchester, will no longer allow meat from ritual slaughter of animals to be served in public schools.

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Ben Ariel and JTA,

Kosher sign
Kosher sign
Flash 90

A county in northern England will no longer allow meat that came from the ritual slaughter of animals to be served in public schools, angering Jews and Muslims, JTA reports Wednesday.

The ban was introduced in October by the council of Lancashire County, which borders on the suburbs of Manchester, home to the United Kingdom’s second-largest Jewish community with more than 25,000 people. It is now set to be implemented.

Council members voted 41-24 to ban the meat from county-run schools. 15 council members abstained, according to JTA.

Lancashire currently supplies 27 schools with meat that was produced from animals that were killed without being stunned. Most of that kind of meat is halal, catering to 12,000 children who are served 1.2 million meals every year.

Both halakha and Muslim religious law forbid the consumption of animals that are not fully conscious when their necks are cut. If the animals are stunned at the time of the slaughter, the meat is not considered kosher by Jewish standards and halal by Muslim standards.

Animal rights activists oppose the custom, calling it cruel. Ultranationalists in Europe also target it.

The head of the county government, Geoff Driver, has called the custom “abhorrent” and “cruel,” the Jewish News reported.

Jewish representatives in London and Manchester said they were “troubled” by his “dismissive attitude” after meeting Driver earlier this year, the report also said.

Following the meeting, Marie van der Zyl, a vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said Driver “refused to see the danger of his assertion that Jewish and Muslim council members could not be objective because of their faiths.”

Earlier this year, two of Belgium’s three federal regions voted to ban slaughter of animals without stunning by 2019.

Slaughter without stunning is now illegal in five European Union member states: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania and Slovenia. It is also illegal in three other non-EU countries in Western Europe: Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

EU members Austria and Estonia enforce strict supervision of the custom that some Jews there say make it nearly impossible to keep.

The Dutch lower house banned ritual slaughter in 2010, but the upper house overturned the ban in 2012. The following year in Poland, a constitutional court overturned a lower court’s ban on kosher slaughter.

Opponents of kosher slaughter claim that there is evidence that the practice of kosher slaughtering causes animals unnecessary pain and suffering. This claim is roundly denied by experts on Jewish slaughter.








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