Samantha Hopps, second-year Literature student, has been investigating Halal meat and the slaughter ethics of meat on campus.
Ms Hopps investigated the sourcing of meat at the Bread Oven, the Dirty Duck, and Xananas. She met with the Food and Beverages department at the Students’ Union (SU).
Ms Hopps discovered that all of the chicken and lamb used at SU outlets were Halal.
She also found that 88 percent of chickens slaughtered for Halal meat in 2011 were stunned before they died, according to the UK Food Standards Agency.
Stunning before slaughter is considered the most humane method in the United Kingdom.
There have been concerns throughout the nation over the slaughter methods of Halal meat. The Qur’an dictates that the animal must be alive at the point of slaughter and each animal must be slaughtered individually while a prayer is spoken.
Traditionally, this has caused concern for some as Halal meat was not stunned before slaughter, as is common practice with standard meat in the UK. It was also excluded from The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations, which meant that it could legally be slaughtered without being stunned first.
However, in recent years efforts have been made to improve slaughter methods and the UK now uses a stunning technique which does not instantly kill the animal, allowing for the animal to still be killed in the Halal method.
While the SU Food and Beverages department have yet to provide Ms Hopps with the full data, she said: “The Food and Beverage Department were really willing to meet with me and discuss the matter and were incredibly helpful.
“The SU should be an ethical organisation, I feel that we as members should be able to hold it accountable for its policies.”
Some students remain concerned that the SU had taken to using only Halal chicken and lamb.
A first-year Ancient History student stated: “I know historically there have been problems with Halal meat and animal welfare. The SU needs to be able to tell us as students that it is getting meat from the best place possible’
Saveena Mangat, first-year Economics student, was concerned about the provision of Halal meat with regards to her religion: “We should have an option, why make all the meat Halal?
“In my religion (Sikhism) we’re not actually allowed to eat Halal meat. By providing Halal meat, you are excluding a whole religion.”
A Christian first-year Politics and International Studies student commented: “It’s disgusting that only Islamic meat is provided and no others. How is it acceptable for me to eat blessed meat of another religion that is different to my own?
“To effectively impose a monopoly on my choice leads me to question whether their religion (Islam) is prioritised over my own.”
Cindy Asokan, first-year Politics and International Studies student and Warwick Anti-Racism Society member, commented: “The concerns towards Halal meat can be legitimate but when the discussion accidentally becomes Islamophobic, that becomes a problem.
“People have a right to know what they are eating, but lately media outlets like the Daily Mail have been very critical without knowing the facts behind Halal meat. We have to be careful when discussing it.”
She also added: “It’s also unlikely that the SU will pay extra for normal meat. That will have to be introduced over time.”
Other students were less concerned about the provision of Halal meat. First-year Engineering student Mekaeel Malik said that although the variety was limited, “there is enough available”.
Warwick SU’s Food and Beverage manager highlighted that a move away from serving solely Halal chicken and lamb could cost the SU “tens of thousands of pounds” while potentially slowing down service times in outlets such as the Bread Oven.
SU president Ben Sundell stressed: “The SU does not support one group over another.”
Meanwhile, the University’s own food outlets stock mainly non-Halal meat with Halal options available by request.
Kelly Parkes-Harrison, a senior press and communications manager from the University, revealed that 1.2 percent of total meat purchased was Halal.
She added: “The remaining puraw meat is Red Tractor Certificated and British sourced.”
The Red Tractor certification ensures that the meat is provided by suppliers who comply with strict animal welfare guidelines.
Originally published on www.theboar.org