UK: Christians, Muslims upset at KFC halal

UK: Christians, Muslims upset at KFC halal

KFC has a list of their trial stores on their site.

I've linked to some articles about this story on my sidebar. A while back KFC started a halal trial in several restaurants, a move which recently hit the headlines, maybe due to similar headlines in the French press (see here and here). But unlike France, in the UK the controversy is also from the Muslim side.


A trial involving the sale of halal poultry at dozens of outlets of a fast-food chain across Britain has left groups of Christians and Muslims embroiled in two very different controversies.

On one hand, non-Muslim groups are setting up internet petitions against KFC’s move to sell halal-only products in the trial at 74 of its outlets across the country. On the other, Muslims themselves are questioning whether, in fact, the poultry being sold is truly halal.

Adding to the confusion is a report in this week’s Grocer magazine that claims that up to three-quarters of all poultry sold as halal in the UK is falsely labelled.

The controversy follows a row in France, where seven stores in the Quick chain of hamburger restaurants switched to selling only halal turkey burgers, sparking protests from non-Muslim French communities.

Halal slaughter methods have long been controversial in the UK. Almost six years ago, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, an independent group of experts appointed to advise the government, called for both halal and kosher slaughtering to be banned immediately because of the suffering it caused to animals. The main reason cited by the council was that in both religious practices, the animals were not pre-stunned before being cut and bled to death. The government, fearing a backlash from Muslim and Jewish communities, ignored the report.

Both halal and kosher slaughterers have an exemption from the pre-stunning that is a legal requirement at UK abattoirs for all other livestock.

However, the question of whether pre-stunning is allowed by Islam has become a hot topic of debate within the Muslim community in Britain.

KFC admits that its poultry is pre-stunned, but says this is approved by the Halal Food Authority (HFA), which has certified all the stores in the current trial. Many Muslims, however, say the HFA’s standards are not strict enough.

“We are pleased to say that there will be no compromise to our welfare standards,” KFC says. “We continue to insist that our poultry is stunned before slaughter, using a technique called ‘stun-to-stun’.”

However, according to this week’s Asian Image newspaper, the fast-food chain has been summoned to a meeting with the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) after it was “inundated” with calls from Muslims asking how halal KFC’s halal really was.

“This issue is of great concern to us because the halal criterion, adopted by LCM after wide consultation, does not allow stunning and this conforms to British law,” the council said in a statement.

“We are concerned whether there is a thorough certification process in place throughout the supply chain of KFC and whether the independent monitoring mechanism is effective.”

Until the meeting with the company takes place, the council “recommends the Muslim community to exercise caution and remain vigilant”.

Meanwhile, many non-Muslims appear unhappy that their local KFC is no longer producing the finger lickin’ stuff they are used to.

By yesterday, more than 1,500 people had supported one of the petitions on Facebook opposing the “halal only” trial at the outlet in Colne, Lancashire, which has a large Muslim population.


Source: The National (English)

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