Tesco has defended its policy on advertising Halal meat after an “appalled” Mickleover customer vowed never to shop there again. Sandra Hill, from Mickleover, wrote to the Derby Telegraph after going into a local store and finding Halal meat being advertised in “big letters”.
Halal is essentially meat that Muslims are allowed to eat according to Islamic law. It must be prepared in certain way – involving a cut to the jugular vein and the animals must be healthy at the time of slaughter. Some consider the process controversial as it can involve slaughtering animals that have not been stunned to prevent them from experiencing pain or suffering.
Ms Hill said she came out feeling “absolutely furious” after seeing the large advertisement. She said: “As I passed one aisle, there was a large sign over it, in big letters saying Halal meat. Do not think for one minute that I am racist or anti-religious – I am most definitely not – but I am anti-cruelty to animals, and, from my understanding, so are a large number of people.
“I am appalled that a large supermarket chain sees fit to promote a product which ensures that animals are not killed in a way that the average person approves of. I spoke to the manager and voiced my annoyance. I asked her if she would put up a sign over another aisle saying ‘non Halal meat’, and she said ‘No, it was company policy to do what the store was doing’.
“I am a non-meat eater, but I did not see a sign anywhere promoting vegetarian food in big letters, so Tesco is happy to promote cruel animal practices, but not healthy lifestyle choices. I for one will not be shopping in Tesco again.”
In response, a Tesco spokesman said: “We sell a range of Halal meat in areas where there is a demand for them. All Halal products we sell are clearly marked as such, to enable customers to make informed decisions about their purchases.”
Meanwhile, the RSPCA said it was opposed to the slaughter of any animal that has not been rendered insensitive to pain and distress. However, it welcomed Tesco’s decision to clearly label Halal meat.
A spokesman said: “We recognise that religious beliefs and practices should be respected. However, we also believe animals should be slaughtered under the most humane conditions possible. Evidence clearly indicates that slaughter without pre-stunning can cause unnecessary suffering.
“We’re pressing for law changes to improve animal welfare at slaughter. Until this occurs, we propose UK Jewish and Muslim communities review their slaughter practices. We also believe meat produced from animals not stunned before slaughter should be clearly labelled to allow consumer choice.”