Retailers must be forced to label halal and kosher meat to ensure that consumers understand the provenance of the products they are buying, Conservative MP Philip Davies has said.
please click link to hearing recording http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9714000/9714686.stm
On 24 April 2012, MPs rejected Mr Davies’ ten minute rule bill aiming to enshrine the policy in law by a majority of just three votes.
The MP for Shipley and former employee of supermarket chain Asda said he had no desire to stop such meat being sold, and had no objections on animal rights grounds.
He said he had “one reason only” for bringing forward the proposal: “to give consumers more information so that they can exercise their freedom of choice”.
Numerous food outlets were selling halal meat to consumers “without their knowledge”, he suggested.
But Labour’s Sir Gerald Kaufman spoke out against the move, criticising Mr Davies for singling out Muslims and Jews.
The MP, who is Jewish, told the Commons: “This has profound connotations of religious feelings and I would be letting my own faith down, my family, I would be letting my many, many good decent, fine religious Muslims in my constituency down if I did not state my total opposition to this bill.”
MPs denied the Food Labelling (Halal and Kosher Meat) Bill a first reading by 73 votes to 70.
The stunning of animals before slaughter is prohibited under Jewish law, which says animals must be healthy and uninjured at the time.
Islamic law also says animals must be uninjured, but some authorities allow a form of stunning to be used.
Both religions require the livestock to be killed with a cut to the throat.
In slaughter houses that do not produce kosher or halal meat, animals are stunned and then killed with a bolt gun.
The stunning of livestock has been compulsory in the EU since 1979 but countries can grant religious exemptions.
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