A massive debate has come to the fore regarding ‘Pizza Express’ serving halal chicken, with a flurry of comments pouring in surrounding halal meat and the manner in which animals are ritually slaughtered.
The Sun newspaper featured a dramatic headline on its front page, in an attempt to indicate to was breaking news, that all chicken meat in the chain's pizzas are killed in accordance with Islamic law and said this could cause animals "unnecessary suffering". It also suggested that Pizza Express was deceiving customers by not informing them that the chicken is halal.
The reaction was so great that both ‘Pizza Express’ and ‘halal’ began trending on Twitter.
Now The Sun has been severely criticised for inciting anti-Muslim prejudice by hoards of individuals, including journalists, who have unveiled that The Sun itself has been Tweeting about this matter for around two years.
Over 85% of animals killed in the UK using the halal method are pre-stunned.
Despite Pizza Express’s halal chicken not really being big secret (it’s on their website), it has however exposed something nasty: the vast majority of the population has been eating halal for years and never seemed to care before. Suddenly this has changed and questions are being raised as to why.
Amongst other threads, it’s being debated why the paper was singling out Islamic practices for scrutiny.
Despite scientific evidence supporting that ritual slaughtering when performed after the animal has been stunned is not painful, a whirlwind of heated debates, derogatory comments and rather nasty statements have surfaced across all social media platforms.
Pizza Express have said that they will now review its menu policy for halal meat after campaigners have called for greater clarity on the labelling of chicken produced through religious slaughter.
Pizza Express said that all of the birds slaughtered for its chicken dishes were pre-stunned.
Certainly one thing has come to surface: that there is a transparency issue for customers who like to know what they are eating.
Despite a motion backed in 2010 when the European Parliament voted by 559 to 54 for more detailed, compulsory labelling on all halal and kosher meat, it still awaits full adoption across Europe.
“It’s clear to see that animal rights are the perfect surrogate for spewing anti-semitic and Muslim-bashing cracks.
“Where I do believe that there is a meat labelling issue which needs to be addressed, I have a strong feeling that there are some scaremongering political tactics in play with The Sun’s recent headline.
“I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to say that creating discord and upsetting the harmony between the different communities in Britain could ultimately lead to gaining the favour of certain voters.”
Follow the Editor on Twitter: @andleebhanif
The Halal Food Authority (HFA) issued a statement saying:
“The government are supportive of the labelling of meat but the onus for this has been placed upon retailers; the HFA does not believe that this will be beneficial unless regulated by UK laws. Halal must be defined and protected by legislation in order to be regulated appropriately to protect consumers from potential mislabelling and/or misrepresentation.”