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by William Sullivan
In January of this year, the Daily Mail reported what was, to some at least, an alarming trend of "secretively prepared" halal meat (the meat of animals ritualistically slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law) being served in "Britain's most popular sporting venues, pubs, schools, and hospitals without the public's knowledge." So prevalently was this tactic employed that some schoolchildren had no non-halal choices beyond a "vegetarian option."
Once the public was made aware of this fact, Britons began voicing their concerns over the practice. Animal rights activists opposed it because "research suggests that animals can die a slow painful death" as a result of the bleeding halal requires, primarily because the animals are often not stunned prior to the act. Others, however, had a more religious objection. Over 10,000 Christians signed a petition that called for proper labeling, citing "reservations about eating meat from animals that are bled to death while an Islamic prayer is recited." Church official Alison Ruoff suggested that "there is a lot of fear about upsetting Muslims but as Christians you have to stand up for Christian values. Because we are unwittingly eating halal meat, we are spreading the practice of sharia law."
As a result of this outcry, Muslim and Christian leaders in the country agreed that "non-Muslims should not be compelled to eat halal meat." In a statement, the Christian Muslim Forum said, "We urge all food outlets, catering organisations, and public authorities to label halal food properly, for the benefit of both non-Muslim and Muslim consumers."
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