Heckles are rising across North and West London. The cause? T'would seem that halal meat is increasingly being used across London at events, large venues (Wembley! Twickers!) and schools. Without telling the consumers.
Now this is naughty. Not to mention surprising. In an age where authorities are moving towards compelling the poor catering trade to declare everything bar the colour of their underwear, surely the provenance of meat should be made clear for all to see? Notwithstanding the fact that food is already overregulated (food wherein the reading about takes longer than the eating therein really does lose its flavour), in a society as diverse as modern London one would think that the need for information was well understood.
But this is not just a simple case of forgetting to tell the punters. There are several contentious issues here - quite apart from the fact that the very word halal in an article is guaranteed to raise both vegetarian and Muslim eyebrows. Londoners will undoubtedly clamour for their right to choose, and bemoan this outbreak of apparent PC-ness. (One has to wonder if there would be the same fuss if kosher meat was being served in its place.) And then animal lovers will bang on about how cruel the halal method of slaughter is (although it was actually devised to cause animals minimal suffering). And those of us in the know will smile ruefully: the reasoning behind this move is in all likelihood economical. In boroughs where the catchment area mostly comprises ethnic minorities, it does admittedly makes financial sense to prepare halal school dinners. Halal meat is significantly, worryingly cheaper than haram stuff, even though it often comes from the same farms and the same slaughter houses.
The biggest irony of all is perhaps lost on the those who have strong opinions about the virtues/evils of halal meat. The fact is that Muslims living in the diaspora are often thrown together with vegetarians by virtue of the fact that they are both slaves to the little green V and the fear of consuming unacceptable animal derived products. A case of one's enemy's enemy being one's supermarket buddy?(Image/jonny2love)