06/08/2010 06:13 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Halal-Only School Dinners Enrage Parents

Fifty-two primary schools across the London borough of Harrow are to switch to halal-only menus, claiming they are following expert recommendations after concerns were raised over the existing storage and preparation of halal and non-halal meat.

The move has angered many parents, who say they have not been properly consulted over the plans.
Animal welfare groups have also raised concerns over the slaughter methods for halal produce - animals are killed with one swipe of a blade through the neck, whilst a Muslim butcher recites religious verse.

Campaigners have deemed the process inhumane because the animals are not sedated before slaughter.

The council have signed contracts with catering provider Harrison's, stipulating that only halal meat is served. However, Masood Khawaja, president of the Halal Food Authority, said that whilst it was commendable for the authority to be providing halal produce, there must be options for those of other faiths and beliefs: "There must be an alternative for non-Muslims. Some people are opposed to halal and kosher meat on animal welfare grounds and they should be given the choice not to eat it."

In a statement, local Councillor Brian Gate said: "The decision about whether to use an individual provider is for schools to make, as funding is delegated to them."

Local residents have responded angrily to the changes, with one saying the decision is taking away choice from parents and children.

What do you think?
Should schools provide menus based on religious beliefs and practices?