A council has scrapped its controversial plan to ban unstunned halal meat from schools.
Last October, Lancashire County Council voted to stop allowing schools to serve kids ‘halal’ lamb and beef – but not poultry.
The ban was prompted by Concillor Geoff Driver, who branded the religious slaughter method ‘cruel’.
However, the ban sparked a major backlash from the county’s Muslim community, with many calling for a boycott of school meals.
Last month the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) threatened a High Court judicial review, claiming the authority failed to consult them before initiating the ban.
The group said the issue had been ‘politicised unnecessarily’, and the ban would only serve to ‘increase Islamophobia and antisemitism’.
Lancashire’s ban was also seized upon by far-right groups, with Britain First leader Paul Golding tweeting about it before the October vote.
The county council has now written to the LCM’s chief executive Abdul Hamid Qureshi saying it will quash the ban, and ‘consider afresh’ before another vote.
A consultation on the proposal will now be opened, while the council will continue the current contracts to supply unstunned meat to 27 schools in the area.
A fresh vote will then need to be taken by the county council, taking into account the result of the consultation, before the ban can be reinstated.
Mr Qureshi welcomed the decision to drop the ban, saying that the LCM was ‘happy’: ‘We now hope that following the consultation they will continue with the current system for supplying halal meat.’
UK law requires farm animals to be stunned before slaughter, but provides a religious exemption for Jews and Muslims.
Instead of a single defined standard for halal meat in the UK, a range of accreditation agencies inspect and accredit firms that produce meat that is described as halal. More than 80% of halal meat in the UK is reportedly pre-stunned.
Cllr John Fillis, deputy leader of the county council Labour group, said: ‘This is chaos and incompetence.’