Campaigners call for better meat labelling as halal row intensifies

Clearer food labelling should be used to inform shoppers how animals have been killed, shechita campaigners have urged.

As the focus on the use of halal meat in mainstream restaurants and supermarkets grows, those who support the religious methods of slaughter have again backed increased labelling.

In a letter published in today's Telegraph newspaper, Shechita UK chairman Henry Grunwald and Muslim Council of Britain deputy general secretary Dr Shuja Shafi defend Jewish and Muslim methods of killing animals for food.

They said labels should make clear whether the animal was stunned before slaughter, and whether stunning was effective.

“They should also be told the method of slaughter: captive bolt shooting, gassing, electrocution, drowning, trapping, clubbing or any of the other approved methods," the campaigners wrote.

“Comprehensive labelling should be supported by faith communities and animal welfare groups alike.

“It would offer all consumers genuine choice, whether they are motivated by animal welfare, religious observance, or even intolerance of anyone who looks or worships differently to them.”

The debate over the practice of shechita and zabiha - the Muslim method of slaughter - has been reignited after national newspapers reported that Pizza Express served only halal chicken in its restaurants.

Last updated: 9:54am, May 8 2014