A Unique “Ground-Breaking” Study into the Halal Sector in England is Under Way
1. A unique “ground-breaking” study into the halal sector in England is under way to “look at changing trends” in the consumption of halal meat. The research, the first of its kind, has been commissioned by the newly-formed Halal Steering Group, established by Eblex with key industry figures to guide work in the halal sector and act as a forum for issues on halal meat (Eblex is a part of the meat and livestock Commission concerned with beef and lamb). It will cover the Muslim population growth in England, as well as demand for halal products, the supply chain and changing consumption trends, and build on previous work done to form a complete view of the halal sector, according to the Meat Trades Journal (05/02/10).
2. The project is expected to take 6 months; its report is therefore due any day. Eblex board member Simon Warren, chairman of the Halal Steering Group said: “This first project will help give us a detailed picture of where we are now. To our knowledge, it is the first time such a holistic study has been carried out, and will help drive future activity.” The inaugural meeting of the Steering Group also identified the need for a recognized assurance scheme for halal products, which will specifically help English producers hoping to supply foreign markets. The Group’s aim is to provide market knowledge for producers, processors, butchers, retailers, and the foodservice market, to help the supply of appropriate products to Muslim consumers.
3. Naved Syed, of Janan Meat and a member of the Halal Steering Group, added: The group has been established to unlock the £1bn market opportunity for domestic producers, both here and through exports. Sheep meat prices are now on a high, partly due to demand for cull ewes for the halal market. This first research project will give us a clearer view of domestic consumption to help the industry ensure production is geared efficiently to meet demand.
4. We have commented before on the change in the Meat Industry’s attitudes to ritual/religious methods of slaughter from abhorrence to the present connivance at once-objectionable practices to contrived acceptance and cautious participation in a potentially lucrative market. Developments in Europe and New Zealand and compliance in Middle Eastern countries with reformers among producers and retailers, essentially to reach accommodations on the meanings of the words stunning and killing (the coup de grace, so to speak) have allowed some old objections to be set aside, but some doctrinal differences – mainly between traditional, liberal, and reformed sectors, as in Jewish rabbis – to complicate matters, to which corrupt and illicit trading confuse the setting of standards even further. Much responsibility devolves on the veterinary profession, as well as with animal welfarists, to assert reliable controls or bans and for these agencies to combine in efforts at deflect the craving for meat into the kinder channels that VEGA offers for change with its Eating Plans indicating acceptable changes and switches allowing the dietary corollaries to be accomplished without cruelty. This testimony is strengthened by example by vets and scientists and by consumers of all persuasions who show the will to essay lifestyles requiring self-denying aversions for various reasons.
5. These stipulations inform the policies in the campaigns we further for opportunities arising during, say, the season of Harvest Festivals; for which we hope to mobilize the appropriate means of education and debate, in which the environment and animal welfare and the quality of mercy can be brought into play effectively.