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Row brewing over halal meat regulation

Mehboob Ayub in his butchers shop in HuddersfieldMehboob Ayub said HMC inspectors had threatened him in his shop

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An organisation which licenses companies dealing in halal meat has been accused of bullying the firms it regulates.

The Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) was set up in 2003 in Leicester, with the aim of carrying out inspections in abattoirs and meat wholesalers and to monitor butchers. In return the businesses would be given a HMC licence - and pay a monthly fee.

Some retailers have complained the HMC is too heavy-handed, uses bullying tactics to get them to join the scheme and are just in it to make money.

But the HMC said it existed to give people peace of mind over quality of food, that it wanted to protect high standards and was not bullying anyone.

Mehboob Ayub, who has a butcher's shop in Huddersfield, alleged that HMC inspectors threatened him, tried to damage his property and told people in the local mosque not buy his meat.

"They tried to push me in my shop and argue with me, they tried to take my posters down and have been telling people in the local mosque not to buy meat from my shop," Mr Ayub said.

"I buy my meat from a HMC-registered slaughterhouse, my wholesaler has a HMC licence, so why should I pay them £30 a week to sell the meat? They just want money."

The HMC denies his claims, saying it does not go into mosques and "shame" retailers.

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One of my staff said that worshippers in his local mosque had been told not to buy our meat”

Omar YounasBradford supermarket owner

It is now operating in about 40 towns and cities in the UK with a sizeable Muslim population, employing more than 100 inspectors and monitors.

Some people have said they have no issues with the HMC. Rahail Tariq owns an Asian supermarket in Bradford and has an HMC licence.

He said: "I've never had a problem with them, their monitors come three times a week to inspect what I am selling and check to see if all my stock has HMC labels on them.

"If they're not happy they will tell me why and I will put it right."

'Affected our business'

But another Bradford supermarket owner told a different story. Omar Younas said he had his licence taken away over a small error which he was not allowed to resolve.

"I told the HMC inspector that a mistake had been made with my suppliers and not me and that I would sort out the problem," he said.

"They were not interested and said I would be reported to head office, who would decide.

"I spent a day trying to sort things out with the HMC but all they did was take away my licence and then demanded I pay one year's fees up front if I wanted it back.

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We do not bully anyone nor do we go into mosques and shame any retailer, why would we?”

Sheikh Yusuf DudhwallaHMC chairman

"Later that week one of my staff said that worshippers in his local mosque had been told not to buy our meat as our licence had been taken away, and this affected our business".

There have been a number of complaints by Halal butcher shops but many have not spoken out publicly because they fear it would attract negative attention and possibly harm their business.

The HMC said that it had received a number of complaints but felt it was being subjected to an orchestrated campaign organised by a few individuals.

It said it only took action if a business was illegally using its trademark without adhering to its strict Halal code and maintained that no-one was forced to sell its approved meat.

Sheikh Yusuf Dudhwalla, chairman of the HMC, said: "Anyone selling our certified meat, who has our licence and is regularly monitored, is offering Muslims peace of mind when it comes to buying halal products.

"The money we charge is for our monitors to make regular visits and conduct spot checks and this way people can be secure that any premise that carries our trademark is a HMC reputable site.

"We are a registered charity, we're not in it to make money".

"We have to protect our high standards but we do not bully anyone nor do we go into mosques and shame any retailer, why would we?"

Tags: Row, brewing, halal, meat, over, regulation

Views: 734

Replies to This Discussion

alan i have some interesting legal documents here, i am unsure as to the validity of the documents as of now,(laws may have been amended) but should they actually be still in force they may be very helpful.

the first is the exemption from stunning 1991 pdf document. the point on the document is "The only exemption provided in the legislation for the Jewish and Muslim
communities is from stunning; Other parts of the law concerning the Welfare of
the Livestock at the Slaughter apply to all forms of Slaughter; it is an offence to
Slaughter livestock under the exemption from stunning if it is known at the meat
is not intended for the food of the Jews and Muslims"

2nd link,
HMC quote " Therefore because of all the negative aspects of stunning, the Halal Monitoring Committee has set a blanket ruling disallowing stunning in any form"

if the 1991 document still upholds law, surely no meat slaughtered under the exemption certificate is allowed to be saled to the public either labelled or unlabelled, unless the buyer is jewish or muslim?

once a school~public place~business is notified of the point of law if it is indeed still valid, they would be breaking the law to continue to sale halal meat either labelled or unlabelled?

the 1991 document comes from the ministry of agriculture fisheries and food, and we all know about the strict quotas imposed on fishing, all surplus is thrown away without been saled perhaps it would apply to excess halal?

the interesting point here,

schedule 12, 2. slaughter by a religeous method, 

 (a)"by the jewish method by a jew for the food of jews"

(b)"by the muslim method by a muslim for the food of muslims"

i get lost when trying to chase up amendments, i cant find any amendment stipulating its ok to sell halal exempted meat to the general public.  taken word for word the laws stating that only muslims and jews can eat halal slaughtered meat under the licensing exemption that HMC uses by law?






 Why if these only about 5 - 10% of this countrys population needs meat form animals that are killed on religious grounds do we need so many abattoirs doing just that. we need a shake up in this country so that halal meat is slaughtered in abattoirs totaly separate from  others. that way they can be regulated properly and we know from where our meat comes. forgien meat should be labled properly. When people are given the choise they will not buy Halal. We should not be force feed it.  Stop your kids having school meals for starters and send em in with bacon sandwhich,s .  Everyone should make sure they buy non halal food.  Its lazyness in shopping habits that allow all this to happen.

    Where,s all the animal rights groups anyway.  There worse than the old bill. can never find one when you need one.

well i believe basically muslims are monopolising the meat industry. they also take a share of the profit for a tax to go towards the islamic community, (why not the whole community? discrimination?)

i was unsuccessful in trying to find out the total number of exemption certificates issued and the consumption total of halal meat in uk for a given year, to back up abuse of the system, and give credence to any claims made should the laws i highlighted be valid.


paul i too wonder where the animal rights groups are on this, unfortunately theyre sat on left wing, under the arms of the muslims.

vetinery reports say the animals suffer upto a couple of minutes before unconsciousness, and death. its frustrating, they fought tooth and nail for this fucking law, and now dont wish to fight to uphold it, pushing british workers in the meat industry to the side, allowing the opportunity for the muslims to profiteer and monopolise forcing british workers out.

(animal rights oh yeah~uaf thats why its all quiet)

(wheres support from our unions to protect workers rights? same place as animal rights)


if the links are correct and upto date, religeous meat should NOT be unlabelled under any circumstance. its against the law to either sell or purchase it and indeed slaughter it, for reasons other than religeous practise purpose and consumption.

from the exemption authority over issuing the certificates, every user down the line is guilty of breaking several laws.





Excellent find, and something that I hope can be followed up.  It would make sense that a small exemption was granted for a minority cultural requirement.  And it also would make sense that that exemption was later exploited to gain control of the meat industry.

ilovecoffee said:

the interesting point here,

schedule 12, 2. slaughter by a religeous method, 

 (a)"by the jewish method by a jew for the food of jews"

(b)"by the muslim method by a muslim for the food of muslims"

i get lost when trying to chase up amendments, i cant find any amendment stipulating its ok to sell halal exempted meat to the general public.  taken word for word the laws stating that only muslims and jews can eat halal slaughtered meat under the licensing exemption that HMC uses by law?






its not been my work, im awaiting permisson from a friend to publish a reply she received from defra today.

she had wrote to them regarding this.

we may be able to break the issue down and pursue it through animal rights, as the laws was intended only to address animal welfare issues.

we will be able to criticise the ineffectiveness of the stunning laws under animal welfare through abuse of the exemption however

theres some confusion, as there are new laws coming into power in the next 3 years, its both good and bad.

the bad is we may do a lot of work for laws to change shorty after.

its good that if played right, we may have a say in clauses of the new laws because they havnt been approved completely yet.

soon as i have permission to copy the reply, ill add the new legislation too and want ideas how to proceed.





RELIGIOUS SLAUGHTER (reply from defra)

Thank you for your detailed response of 26 January.

To clarify the legal position with regard to religious slaughter, Directive 93/119/EC permits an exemption from the requirement to stun animals for methods of slaughter required by certain religious rites. In the UK religious slaughter must take place in a slaughterhouse and Schedule 12 of Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (WASK) sets out the requirements for religious slaughter in more detail. This includes conditions for restraint, handling, slaughter and minimum bleed-out times. As you have noted, Schedule 12 also includes a provision limiting slaughter without prior stunning to slaughter undertaken in a slaughterhouse by a Jew for the food of Jews or by a Muslim for the food of Muslims. However, WASK is intended to regulate activities in relation to animal welfare at the point of slaughter in a slaughterhouse and cannot be used to regulate activities beyond the point of slaughter, such as the subsequent sale of meat from an animal that has not been stunned to a non Jew or non Muslim.

Directive 93/119 will be replaced by Regulation 1099/2009, which comes into effect on 1 January 2013. While Regulation 1099/2009 allows religious slaughter to continue, individual Member States can impose stricter rules or prohibit religious slaughter completely through national rules if they consider this to be appropriate. We will be looking carefully at the way religious slaughter is regulated in the UK in this context including the requirement that non stunned meat should be for consumption by members of the religious community requiring this approach to meet their religious beliefs. Proposals for implementing Regulation 1099/2009 will be published in about 12 months time and there will be full consultation with all interested parties before any final decisions are taken.

In the meantime, as I said in my previous email, we are discussing with the food industry whether labelling and point of sale information can play a greater role in giving consumers a choice because we are aware that many people, like you, feel strongly about this issue.

Yours faithfully,
 This is a well know problem, that is beening ignored
   This is an old story, but it shows you that the demand for halal products was on the increase 8 years ago. Thats because they are feeding all us non-muslims halal without our consent.  Like i say 10% of the population muslim, yet up to half the food ordered for schools and hospitals is Halal. And i,m sure i resd that prison food (meat) is now exclusively halal. I will try and confirm that.   

im a little confused here, im assuming control will be handed over to the european union in january 2013, and  regulation 1099/2009 (the link above) is already in force in europe?

paul did you see the muslim prisoners who inadvertantly ate pork recently in the newspapers? (i laughed all day lol)


i do think the legislation is there and covers should someone challenge it, on welfare grounds slaughtering animals by halal methods knowing consumption is going to be non breach of welfare rights.

ill find the regulations in the next few days,  post them and if theres some valid argument, let someone else who knows better have a go.



i feel like im beating a dead horse so to speak, does anyone know if the jewish community has objections to prestunned halal on religeous grounds?

if they dont, its worth pursuing, if not im causing division amongst supporters, and may do more harm than good.

the welfare issue is the point to address, to limit exemption license, and reduce tax going to the islamic council for the slaughter.

the pro argument for unstunned halal is relying on upto 70 year old evidence, laws misrepresented, taken out of context and i feel the british authorities never bothered to validate the claims, or theyed have had to revise them.


there is also a religeous ethic been completely ignored, in which when mohammed describes to slaughter an animal, its done without the presence of another animal, in slaughterhouses this is ignored completely. (its convenience for optimum production and profit)


theres some papers due to be published regarding the uks permissions on the exemptions of unstunned halal, until these are available its bit of a dead end.



95% of the UK population are NOT muslim and these consumers are not interested in any kind of Religious Regulation in the name of allah or anyone else. Britain is a secular society based on Christian principles and it is extremely disrespectful of the muslim community to think that they can judge our meat industry and try to take control of our food chain in the way they are trying to do.

How dare they designate the UK to be a pilot project (2009WHF) and then last year declare that they aim to "Take Halal Mainstream in the UK... and then Europe"

In addition it is apparent that by the use of trickery and deception, UNLABELLED Halal has been sold & fed to unsuspecting shoppers & consumers throughout the UK... and they dared to even shove it down the throats of our elected politicians in the House of Commons - which made them very angry NB. That supplier lost their contract & the House is now being supplied with normal meat through a bonafide supplier.

Article 9 Human Rights Act. Freedom of Conscience - gives us the right to religious and 
secular freedom, ie to not be forced to participate in religious rites. Dedicating this meat to a 
god violates this right: forced participation... in another's religion without consent. Christians, 
Sikhs & Hindus are specifically instructed not to eat this meat, so where is non-muslims 
religious freedom now in Britain?

The fact is that Muslims do not require Halal Products when residing in a Non-Islamic 
Country anyway... Islam does have laws regarding which foods can and cannot be eaten and also on the proper 
method of slaughtering an animal for consumption, known as dhabihah. IMPORTANT POINT... However if there is no other food available, then a Muslim is allowed to 
eat non-halal food. SOURCE: World faiths, Teach yourself - Islam by Ruqaiyyah Maqsood. ISBN 0-340-60901-X. 
Page 204 Surah 2:173 states:If one is forced because there is no other choice, neither craving nor transgressing, there is 
no sin in him.So it seems that when muslims are in non-Islamic countries it's OK for them to eat non-halal 
food... the only requirement according to Sharia Law is to pray before consuming non-halal 



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