Following a four-week consultation, the council has taken the decision to ban unstunned meat from the schools, despite 65% of respondents claiming they strongly disagreed with the proposals. Nine-tenths of Muslim respondents also disagreed with the proposals. Over a quarter of respondents (27%) added that this may lead to their children not eating meat in school.
The decision affects 27 schools in the area that are supplied by the council’s catering service and will be implemented from the start of the new school term in September.
County Councillor Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said the contract for supplying these schools was up for renewal, leading the council to “consider the animal welfare issues surrounding the supply of halal meat”.
“We accept that a small number of schools may choose to use different suppliers for halal meat, however we hope that people understand how the council has arrived at this decision, which has been taken solely on the grounds of animal welfare with due consideration for the impacts outlined in the responses to the consultation,” he explained.
“We would like to work with the Lancashire Council of Mosques [LCM] to ensure that the meals we supply to the affected schools in future provide a range of nutritious options which satisfy students' dietary requirements and are acceptable to LCM, parents and governors.”
In a statement, LCM described the decision as “undemocratic and hugely discriminatory”.
Meanwhile the National Secular Society has welcomed the decision.