Un-stunned meat supply to schools?

Local initiative in the absence of national provisions

Lancashire County Council is in the process of reviewing its current policy on the supply of halal meat to schools, and its on-line consultation is due to close on 7 March. The Council voted to stop supplying un-stunned non-poultry meat to schools and other establishments last October, but in January decided to reconsider its policy after the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) threatened to seek judicial review of its decision and encourage a boycott of school meals. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 28th January

A new bishop, a new(ish) blog, but also plenty on burial rights, coroners and animal slaughter

Reuse of graves

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice answered a Written Question [122416] from Nicky Morgan (Conservative, Loughborough) asking what representations the Secretary of State has received from (a) the Burial and Cremation Advisory Group and (b) other stakeholders on the reuse of graves; and whether his Department plans to continue to review the matter of such reuse. Continue reading

Religious slaughter – consultation on labelling scheme

Soon-to-close consultation by industry body

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the statutory levy board representing farmers and growers, is consulting on the introduction of a new Halal Quality Standard Mark for all sheepmeat; as part of this scheme, the AHDB is proposing a new labelling system to indicate the method of slaughter used. However, the labels are not intuitively obvious and the wording “stun/with pre-stunning” will not be used in the primary branding of either mark. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 14th May

Reciprocal heresy trials”, an episcopus vagans and Matthew 6:3

At the end of a week of fast-moving events following the consecration in Newcastle of the Revd Jonathan Pryke as a “bishop in the Church of God” by the Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA), here, here, and elsewhere, we are left with little clarity on how events will be progressed by GAFCON, GAFCON-UK, AMiE or even the Church of England, which – no doubt wisely – has adopted a low-key approach to the situation.

The piecemeal release of statements &c has been followed by commentators, and many identifying themselves as evangelicals have been critical of the initiative and of the organizations concerned: Order! Order!”: Reflections on The Jesmond Consecration, Andrew Goddard, FulcrumShould evangelicals be embarrassed by Newcastle?, Ian Paul/Peter Carrell, Psephizo; and Why now? The deeply strange timing of the renegade conservative Anglicans, Andy Walton, Christian Today. Legal issues have been addressed by Andrew Goddard’s observations, supra, and Philip Jones’ piece A Rogue Bishop.   

[Update: This evening, Thinking Anglicans included a copy of the Q and A document handed out in the morning at Jesmond Parish Church about its reasons for the episcopal consecration. Legal issues are not addressed, although it states inter alia [emphasis added]:

“such [New Style] bishops need to be faithful to 1) the biblical miracles of the virginal conception of Jesus and his Resurrection and empty tomb; 2) the biblical ethic that sex should be reserved for lifelong heterosexual monogamous marriage; and 3) the biblical principle that means bishops should be male – all issues in the North East in recent years“.


“the aim is not to create a new denomination. No! This is one small but necessary step on behalf of faithful Church of England ministers and congregations nationwide in our mission to the nation. This is not a step of ‘leaving the Church of England’ It is the theologically liberal bishops and clergy that have ‘left the Church of England’ doctrinally. This is a step to preserve the Church of England’s heritage and mission which we have received”.]

A report in Christian Today on 9 May commented, “The Archbishop of York … is being kept informed but is yet to make a formal response”. We await developments with interest.

More about bishops

Following its final meeting in Dublin in 2016, Members of the Colloquium of Anglican and Roman Catholic Canon Lawyers held a reunion at the Venerable English College in Rome on Wednesday evening 10th May. Continue reading

Lords debate “religious slaughter” – yet again

On 15 December,  Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts moved the motion:

“That this House regrets that, since the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 [“the WATOK regulations”] do not in all cases specify parameters for electrical water-bath stunning, poultry in England will be afforded a less rigorous level of welfare at slaughter than available in Wales and Northern Ireland (SI 2015/1782)”, [15 Dec 2015 Vol 767(85) Column 2054]. Continue reading

Religion and law round-up – 7th June

Not much excitement this week unless you’re a statistics geek…

… but a bumper readership on Thursday for Frank’s post Jilbabs as trip-hazards: Begum v Pedagogy Auras UK Ltd, which went out on 27 May.

Conditional baptism?

In his post Baptism and Godly Living, Philip Jones explores a priest’s obligations in relation to conducting infant baptism and the circumstances under which this might be delayed. Whilst most of those commentating on the recent report in the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror managed to locate and quote Canon B22, Philip extends his considerations to the requirements for godparents within Canon B23, who are required to be “be persons who will faithfully fulfil their responsibilities … by the example of their own godly living”, and must normally be baptised and confirmed, though the minister may dispense with the requirement of confirmation. He notes that the situation is different from that considered by the Court of Arches in Bland v Archdeacon of Cheltenham [1972] 1 All ER 1012, which under the 1603 Canons effective at that time, a deliberate refusal to baptise (as distinct from a failure to baptise due to forgetfulness or laziness) should be charged as an offence of disobedience to ecclesiastical law rather than as neglect of duty.

He concludes by saying that “despite the [current] broad wording “as he thinks fit”, it is unlikely that Canon B22(2) empowers the bishop to support an outright refusal to baptise a baby merely because of disapproval of the parents’ lifestyle,” which would be to impose a condition of baptism that is not found in ecclesiastical law. “The dictum in Bland … suggests that the bishop’s power is limited to agreeing that the incumbent may delay the baptism. It is true, however, that any delay may be indefinite, in which case there may be little practical distinction between delay and refusal”. However, such an approach would be viewed as being little better than the comments attributed to the Chester diocese spokesman. Continue reading

MPs debate non-stun slaughter (yet again)

Religious slaughter was last considered by MPs at the end of last year when Neil Parish (Con, Tiverton and Honiton), chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beef and Lamb, secured a debate on “Meat slaughtered in accordance with religious rites”, Commons Hansard 4 Nov 2014 Vol 592(105) Col 147WH. This Monday, 23 February, the topic was again on the agenda with another WH debate on “an e-petition relating to ending non-stun slaughter to promote animal welfare.” Continue reading