Food min­is­ter sparks row by call­ing for kosher meat la­bels

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEON SY­MONS

COM­MENTS MADE in a news­pa­per in­ter­view by a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for food and farm­ing have been de­scribed as a new at­tack on she­chi­tah.

In the in­ter­view pub­lished in Mon­day’s In­de­pen­dent, Lord Rooker, food and farm­ing min­is­ter at the De­part­ment for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Rural Af­fairs, said he ob­jected to re­li­gious slaugh­ter and that all meat killed in that way should be clearly la­belled.

“The coun­try, source of ori­gin and method of slaugh­ter for meat ought to be on the la­bel be­cause that way I could stop the bloody ha­lal meat, that is ex­cess to the in­dus­try’s re­quire­ments, be­ing slipped into the food chain with­out peo­ple be­ing told.” The ar­ti­cle said Lord Rooker “ac­cepted the le­gal­ity of re­li­gious slaugh­ter” but said cus­tomers should be warned when they might be eat­ing meat killed in such a way. “I’ve been in slaugh­ter­houses.Re­li­gious slaugh­ter tech­niques are some­thing I don’t sub­scribe to,” he told the pa­per.

Shi­mon Co­hen, spokesman for She­chita UK, the um­brella body for she­chi­tah or­gan­i­sa­tions, said: “Lord Rooker shows an ig­no­rance of slaugh­ter meth­ods in gen­eral and she­chi­tah in par­tic­u­lar. His com­ments… show an ex­treme and wor­ry­ing bias.

“Is Lord Rooker sug­gest­ing that meat from an­i­mals that have been gassed, elec­tro­cuted, mis-stunned, stabbed and shot should be so la­belled, or is he sin­gling out hu­mane re­li­gious slaugh­ter?”

Asked if Lord Rooker’s com­ments rep­re­sented a change in pol­icy on she­chi­tah, Defra said in a state­ment: “The min­is­ter made clear he was talk­ing about his per­sonal choice. The gov­ern­ment has made it clear it would pre­fer all an­i­mals to be stunned be­fore slaugh­ter, but recog­nises the need of cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties and ac­cepts the im­por­tance which they at­tach to the right to slaugh­ter an­i­mals for food in ac­cor­dance with their be­liefs.”

Lord Rooker de­clined to speak to the JC on the is­sue.

PHOTO: JOHN RIFKIN

Shop­ping for meat in the Kosher Deli in Gold­ers Green, North-West Lon­don

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