Shechita campaigners complain over Mail on Sunday article

Mail on Sunday’s story has been condemned as “deeply unpleasant”

Mail on Sunday’s story has been condemned as “deeply unpleasant”

Campaign group Shechita UK has reported the Mail on Sunday to the Press Complaints Commission over an “aggressive and sensationalised” report on religious slaughter.

The group said the Mail’s article was “deeply unpleasant not only for the pejorative and mischievous editorial line but also for the way in which it deliberately misled its readers”.

In its report, the newspaper said animals were killed in “ritual ceremonies” which had been denounced as “cruel” by John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association.

It added that kosher meat was being used in “high street burgers” and sold to mainstream butchers, supermarkets and restaurants for non-Jewish consumers — a fact regularly acknowledged by kosher meat producers.

Shechita UK said the Mail had chosen “intentionally aggressive and partisan language” to “sensationalise” concerns. Readers commenting on Twitter said the piece was “sinister”.

Shimon Cohen, Shechita UK director, wrote to editor Geordie Greig setting out what he said were breaches of the PCC code and asking for an opportunity to “set the record straight”.

The newspaper defended its story. A spokesman said: “It is an undisputed fact that some people regard the shechita slaughter method as cruel.

“The newspaper did not express an opinion itself. We did, however, point out that the same arguments apply to halal meat.

“The article correctly stated that some kosher meat is used in meat products that are sold without being labelled as containing kosher meat. We refute any suggestion that the article was pejorative or misleading.”

The newspaper said it planned to publish a response from Mr Cohen.

Jacky Lipowicz, chairman of the Licensed Kosher Meat Traders Association, said he had found the article “absolutely disgusting”.

But he played down fears that growing pressure on shechita — particularly in the media — could spark a horsemeat-style scandal at abbatoirs.

“This is not a scandal. The non-kosher slaughterhouses hid what they were doing with horsemeat. We are open. That’s what will stop it turning out like that,” he said.

This article has been amended to remove inappropriate references to the Mail on Sunday having 'lied' about shechita.

Last updated: 1:13pm, March 21 2014