British Jewish officials involved with the kosher food industry are working on a response after a group of MPs has begun to make moves to limit or even ban non-stunned meat in the UK.
The kosher industry figures are launching a coordinated campaign with officials from the halal food industry whose meat would also be impacted, the UK Jewish News reported.
The development comes after many European Jews have felt their religious faith under attack with similar bans already enacted in other European countries, including Belgium, whose ban on kosher and halal slaughter was upheld by an EU court. The court went as far as to instruct Jews to integrate electric stunning into meat production.
On Tuesday, a Greek court was the latest European legal chamber to ban kosher and halal slaughter, putting the future of the country’s small Jewish community in jeopardy.
According to a report in the Jewish News, there is coordinated campaign between Shechita UK and the Halal Monitoring Committee to craft a unified response to the MPs attempting to ban non-stunned meat.
On Monday, the former vice chair of the Conservatives Sir Roger Gale and MP Chris Loder announced they were pushing for a reduction in non-stunned meat, which would call into question the future of kosher and halal meat production in the UK.
A number of government ministers are reportedly backing Gale and Loder on the measure. The two are also asking for kosher and halal meat sold in the UK to be labelled as “non-stunned.”
Loder told a session of parliament during the second reading of an animal welfare bill that he would be pushing for an amendment that would detail plans to drastically curtail the product of meat slaughtered without stunning, with Gale stating that he would back the amendment.
“There is a case for much greater regulation of non-stunned slaughtered animals – because we know perfectly well that vast amounts of kosher and halal meat are produced not for the British market even, but for export,” Gale said, counter to prevailing numbers provided by Britain’s kosher meat industry.
The government recently began a 12-week consultation period on labelling meat products for animal welfare that could prove misleading to the consumer with regard to kosher slaughtering, and make it appear that kosher products did not take animal welfare into consideration.
While the government has offered some assurances to the Jewish and Muslim communities that kosher and halal foods will not be targeted, the popularity of Gale and Loder’s plan has been cause for concern.
A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson told the news outlet that while “the government would prefer all animals to be stunned before slaughter, we respect the rights of Jewish and Muslim people to eat meat prepared in accordance with their beliefs.”