The proposal to ban halal meat from unstunned animals was brought by Geoff Driver, the Conservative leader of Lancashire County Council. “This is an animal welfare issue, nothing more, nothing less,” he said, according to the Lancashire Telegraph.
“The reason it has been raised now is because the contract for meat supplies is coming up for renewal,” he said. The practice is “abhorrent” and “really, really cruel,” he added. He denied the vote was Islamophobic or anti-Semitic.
Lancashire currently supplies 27 schools with “unstunned” halal meat, catering for up to 12,000 children. During a heated debate on Thursday night, councillors voted 41 to 24 to ban the meat from county-run schools. Fifteen councillors abstained.
Conservative Councillor Andrew Snowden said the issue was about “the minimum treatment we expect animals to receive.” He said he would support a ban on the “inhumane” practice of not stunning animals before slaughter “because my moral compass obliges me to,” according to the Guardian.
Labour councillor Lorraine Beavers said 12,000 children in Lancashire were being used as a “political football.” She said the motion sent a message to children of a particular faith that they were not being respected by the Conservative-led council.