Lancashire council in the UK has voted to stop supplying schools with halal meat from animals killed without being stunned, in a move described as “discriminatory and Islamophobic” by Muslim leaders.
It is believed to be the first local authority in the UK to rule that meat supplied to pupils in its schools must be from animals that have been stunned before slaughter.
The Lancashire Council of Mosques strongly objected when the council proposed the step last year.
Under UK law, farm animals must be stunned before slaughter - although there are religious exemptions for Muslims.
But councilors in Lancashire argued that slaughtering animals without stunning them beforehand caused “unnecessary stress and suffering” to cattle, sheep and goats.
The council held a public consultation in which two-thirds of 8,500 respondents (65 per cent) strongly disagreed with the proposal and a third (33 per cent) strongly agreed.
But the councilors decided to press ahead with avoiding unstunned meat when the contract with its halal supplier is renewed.
Abdul Hamid Qureshi, chief executive of the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM), condemned the decision as “undemocratic and hugely discriminatory”.
He said the group was angry and upset, and members would consider a judicial review and exploring independent catering services.