Tuesday, 30 November 2010

BNP call for halal meat to be taken off school menus

Councillor Mike Coleman and fellow Councillors in Stoke on Trent made front page Headlines today.

Story below.

FAR-RIGHT politicians in Stoke-on-Trent are campaigning for halal meat to be taken off school menus.

Seventeen of the 93 city schools are offering the ritually-slaughtered meat in their canteens after at least 10 per cent of parents backed the move.

But the British National Party (BNP) is calling on Stoke-on-Trent City Council to ban the halal meat on animal welfare grounds.

BNP group leader Councillor Michael Coleman today denied the campaign is an attack on Muslims.

Instead he urged councillors to stop the "barbaric method of slaughter".

Under halal rules, the animals are not stunned by a bolt or electric shock before they are slaughtered. Mr Coleman, pictured, said: "We were contacted by some mums from Tunstall, who were angry that their children were being served this meat without their knowledge.

"The council tries to make out that it is just an option, but I don't believe that is the case in all these schools.

"I think it is just being served up and pupils are not even aware that they are eating it. It's against the law for me to kill an animal in that way, but it's fine for a Muslim or a Jew to do it. It's an unacceptable state of affairs."

Halal meat has been provided to some city schools since 2000.

It is estimated that halal meat accounts for about four per cent of the meat served in the 17 schools.

Schools serving halal meat are: Alexandra Junior School, Normacot; Alexandra Infant School, Normacot; Belgrave CoE Primary School, Longton; Etruscan Primary School, Etruria; Forest Park Primary School, Hanley; John Baskeyfield Primary School, Burslem; Mill Hill Primary School, Tunstall; St Mark's Primary School, Shelton; St Peter's RC Primary School, Cobridge; Summerbank Primary School, Tunstall; Thomas Boughey Children's Centre, Shelton; Waterside Primary School, Hanley; St Mary's, Tunstall; Birches Head High School; The Co-operative Academy at Brownhills, Tunstall; Haywood Engineering College, Burslem; and St Peter's High School, Penkhull.

All the schools offer an alternative to halal meat, except St Mark's Primary.

Shelton Islamic Centre director Rana Tufail, said: "I am not aware of any problems caused by serving halal meat in schools in the last 10 years."

Community Voice Councillor Peter Kent-Baguley accused the BNP of "making mischief" against Muslims.

He said: "The BNP are fiddling while our services burn, and are patently seeking to make trouble."

Parents today hit out at the BNP motion which goes before the council on December 9.

Sarah Richardson, whose nine-year-old son, Jordan, attends St Mark's Primary, said: "I don't see what the fuss is about. Jordan loves the food at school."

Jordan, of Whitmore Street, Hanley, said: "I really like the halal burgers, but my favourite school dinner is curry."

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