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Animals killed for halal & kosher meat 'feel the cut'

Britain's top vet said that UK abattoirs could follow the Danish meat industry in banning the killing of animals that are not stunned prior to death because current halal and kosher meat practices result in "five or six seconds" of pain for the animal.

Read: Top vet calls for halal and kosher meat slaughter reform

John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, told The Times: "The Danish unilateral banning [was done] purely for animal welfare reasons, which is right. We may well have to go down that route."

He said that the issue was "one of the most important on our (vets') radar."

They will feel the cut.

They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck.

They will perceive the aspiration of blood they will breath in before they lose consciousness.

– John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association

Top vet calls for halal and kosher meat slaughter reform

Halal and kosher meat could be banned in Britain unless the religious slaughter of animals is made more humane, the leader of Britain's vets has said.

File photo of Lathallan Abattoir in Linlithgow, Scotland. Credit: PA

John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, said the religious customs associated with killing sheep and cattle caused unnecessary suffering to animals.

Jewish and Islamic slaughter practices traditionally involve animals having their throats slit and the blood drained.

In an interview with The Times (£), Mr Blackwell suggested stunning the animals so that they are unconscious before the fatal cut is made.

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List of schools affected by Halal meat contamination

Test results show pork was present in a sample of halal chicken sausages which may have been supplied to 19 schools and nurseries. A further sample of non-halal lean mince beef shows that pork and lamb was present, potentially affecting 17 schools and nurseries

Schools serving halal chicken sausages:

  • All Souls
  • Beachcroft
  • Churchill Gardens
  • College Park
  • Edward Wilson
  • Essendine
  • Gateway
  • George Eliot
  • Hallfield
  • Millbank Academy
  • Paddington Green
  • Queen's Park
  • St Augustine's CE
  • St Barnbas CE
  • St Peters CE
  • Wilberforce
  • Mary Paterson Nursery
  • Portman Childhood Centre

Schools serving halal chicken sausages and non halal lean mince beef:

  • St. Mary’s Bryanston Square

Schools serving non halal lean mince beef:

  • Barrow Hill
  • Burdett Coutts
  • Hampden Gurney
  • Our Lady of Dolours
  • QE II
  • St Clement Danes
  • St Edwards
  • St Gabriel’s
  • St George’s
  • St James & St Michael’s school
  • St James & St Michael’s nursery
  • St Joseph’s
  • St Mary Magdalene
  • St Matthews
  • St Vincent de Paul
  • Westminster Cathedral
  • Tachbrook Nursery

Halal contamination 'thought to be due to human error'

Westminster City Council has named the school, where Halal chicken sausages were found to contain pork DNA, as St Mary's Bryanston Square, a Church of England school in west London.

Nigel J Tottman, the managing director of butchers Nigel Fredericks, said it had sourced the sausages from Brook Farm Sausages. From Nigel Fredericks, the sausages were supplied to catering company Chartwells and then the school.

St Mary's Bryanston Square Church of England School, near Marble Arch, west London. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

"We have used Brook Farm Sausages for many years, and can only think that this was an isolated incident involving some element of human error," Mr Tottman said.

"We are currently investigating the cause of this unfortunate and regrettable incident as a matter of utmost priority, together with Compass UK and Brook Farm Sausages.

"We are very sorry that we have had a product come through our supply chain that has failed to meet the high standards we and our customers expect, and extend our apologies to any person who has potentially eaten this product."

Defra: Halal contamination 'totally unacceptable'

Food labelled Halal found to contain pork is "totally unacceptable", the Department for Environment, Food and Rural (Defra) has said today. A Defra spokesman said:

Today Defra, the FSA and the Department for Communities and Local Government met with organisations involved in Halal and Kosher food to discuss labelling and certification.

Food manufacturers and suppliers have a responsibility to make sure that the food they serve is what they say it is. The FSA is working with Westminster City Council to establish what happened.

Catering provider withdraws Halal products

Westminster City Council has recently discovered traces of pork DNA contained in a Halal-labelled chicken sausage product, a spokesman for catering provider Chartwells said today. The spokesman added:

This product was supplied to Chartwells by butchers Nigel Fredericks from whom we sought and received written assurances that the product was correctly certified as Halal chicken.

Nigel Fredericks has taken full responsibility for this breach of our supply chain and we are conducting our own investigation into how this happened.

We immediately took the precautionary step of withdrawing the product from all sites and have issued unreserved apologies.

– Spokesman for Chartwells

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Pork find creates 'distrust' between parents and schools

A statement issued by the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre welcomes West Minster City Council "swift response" following the discovery of pork DNA in Halal sausages, but says it is concerned there will now be issues of trust between Muslim parents and schools.

It is strictly prohibited for Muslims to eat pork or meat that has not been slaughtered in accordance with their faith and thus the discovery of pork meat in Halal sausages will be hard to ‘stomach’ for the parents of the children that have been exposed to this contaminated meat. There will be serious issues of concern and distrust between Muslim parents and the schools now, and we hope a resolution can be sought quickly and effectively as possible.

– East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre

Tests on Halal products followed horsemeat scandal

The issue only came to light after the authority decided to carry out its own proactive tests on food contamination in the wake of the horse meat scandal. WCC officers took seven samples in total from three schools in the week beginning 25th February. These tests were carried out on our own initiative and not carried out as the result of any specific concerns about school food standards.

The testing involved analysis for the presence of DNA from beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, goat and horse.

All tests proved negative for horse DNA. However, a preliminary report was received on Friday 8th March which suggested pig DNA could be present in the Halal chicken sausages range. The result was found in one sample taken at a Westminster primary school.

A further round of tests today confirmed the preliminary findings.

– A Westminster City Council statement
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