Thursday, 8 May 2014

Halal meat - a message from local butchers

There's been a lot of talk recently about Halal meat. If it's an issue you're worried about then please take the time to read these letters from Warrens Butchers and Jaspers which explain what the process actually entails. It's very different to the common media portrayal!

This is the message from Jaspers:

Jaspers are accredited by the Halal Food Authority (HFA) who do allow stunning to render the animal unconscious prior to slaughter, it does not allow stunning to kill.

We are highly regulated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and an Official Veterinarian who are continually on site through production to monitor animal welfare, slaughter and hygiene practices on a daily basis.

We have a Muslim slaughterman who is licensed by the Food Standards Agency and approved by the Halal Food Authority to carry out the bleeding and prayer process on each animal, but I must emphasise that each animal is stunned prior to this happening. Whether the animal is slaughtered using the Halal or Non-Halal method the slaughter process is exactly the same, the animal is always pre-stunned prior to slaughter.

All our animals are rendered unconscious using the electrical stunning method by a licensed slaughterman, this is an industry standard for the slaughter of sheep. We are regularly audited by the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), of which I am a member. The HSA inspect all aspects of animal welfare on site, the stunning process, the equipment used to carry it out and the slaughter process as well as the daily monitoring the FSA carries out.

After the animals are electrically stunned the sheep are then bled, this part is the actual slaughter process.

Finally I have no problem with you visiting site to witness the slaughter process being carried out. We always welcome visitors, students, trainee butchers and chefs to come and see how the whole slaughter process is done in a very humane way which is approved by the FSA, British Retail Consortium, Red Tractor, English Beef & Lamb Executive and Soil Association, of which we are accredited by.

I hope this is sufficient information for you to stop the rumours circulating the town and to know that Jaspers are totally dedicated to high standards of animal welfare at all times.

This is the message from Warrens:

We are renowned for our high ethic standards of using our own and other local produce, farmed by local farmers to the highest standards of natural farming off the moors and the margins, we have it slaughtered locally in low stress facilities and to pin one of your raised points down straight away, EVERY ANIMAL WE HANDLE HAS BEEN PRE STUNNED, NO DOUBTS, NO QUIBBLE, PRE STUNNED!!!

As to the question of Jaspers actual practice, we will allow them to answer you direct, however I would like to explain Halal and the confusion it causes in the wider sense. Orthodox Jews and strict Muslims demand strict religious slaughter, this is indeed done by the knife on un-stunned animals, and to which, we, and the vast majority of people abhor.

There is then the compromised Halal method, which is acceptable to many forward thinking Muslims, whereby a practicing person of Muslim faith can work in the slaughter line, and providing he mutters a prayer to his God in thanks for for the lambs life and respect for its sacrifice to feed us, it becomes Halal to their faith.

This method of pre-stunning and then prayer is the one used in 90 per cent of Halal meat production in this country, nothing different to everyday slaughter practices except the prayer, and the fact a Muslim works there.

Except for religious intolerance, this should be acceptable to a western way of life, whereby we respect the welfare of all our god's creatures.

Please feel free to approach us at any time to find out facts, and I am sure the local farming family who run Jaspers would be more then willing to do the same.

It is an old saying that comes to mind here, A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so I thank you once again for taking the trouble and time to find out the truth before making statements as to the actual position of two highly respected businesses in the high quality meat sector.
I hope that this provides reassurance to local shoppers about the quality and animal welfare standards of local firms. Please keep supporting local shops.

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