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 – 18th September

And as a couple of OAPs continued to slug it out for the US Presidency, a very busy week in which another couple of OAPs carried on blogging…

…and reporting on the week’s bumper crop of developments in law and religion, (with, surprisingly, only a peripheral mention of Brexit).

Culling the Lords Spiritual?

The Government’s policy of reducing the number of Commons constituencies from 650 to 600 has produced the inevitable reactions and accusations of gerrymandering – particularly from MPs whose seats would disappear under the Boundary Commission’s initial proposals – and what the Mail on Sunday described as an “ultimatum from rebel Tories”. According to its report:

“Senior Tory MP Charles Walker branded the plans ‘ridiculous’ if they were not matched by similar measures to cut the size of the ‘bloated’ and unelected House of Lords, which has 805 members.  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

PACE resolution on Freedom of religion and living together in a democratic society

On 30 September the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE] (not to be confused with the European Parliament) agreed a Resolution on freedom of religion: the report on which it was based is available here. The Resolution noted the renewed importance of religion in European societies but expressed great regret and anxiety that the growth of non-European faiths gave rise to “tensions, lack of understanding and suspicion, and even to xenophobic attitudes, extremism, hate speech and the most despicable violence”. It noted that freedom of thought, conscience and religion was an established, universal and inviolable human right under the UDHR and the ECHR and, as such, “non-negotiable”. Continue reading

Religion and Law round-up – 14th December

Advent 3, and only 11 shopping days until Christmas (and 47 working days until the Church Roof Fund deadline)

The Law Society’s sharia practice note

We have commented previously on the Law Society’s ill-fated practice note on drafting a sharia-compliant will, withdrawn with apologies in November. However, Legal Futures now reports that it has become apparent, as the result of an adjudication by the Society’s freedom of information adjudicator, that the note was drawn up without any input from experts in sharia. The relevant part of the adjudication reads as follows:

“On 9 September the applicant wrote to The Law Society with questions concerning the recently published Sharia Succession Rules Practice Note (‘the Note’). He asked who the individual author(s) had been [and] whether any religious organisations or lobbyists had been consulted before the decision to publish the Note … The Society said that no ‘Sharia Law experts’ had been consulted and that no external individuals or organisations had lobbied the Society or been involved in drafting the Note” [our emphasis]. Continue reading

Religion and law round-up – 9th November

An unexpectedly busy week: gender-selective abortion, a debate on ritual slaughter, the Lords on assisted dying, religion and property rights and more…

Assisted dying

On Friday Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill [Lords] had its first day in Committee of the whole House. The most important development was that the Committee agreed without division Amendment 4 (moved by Lord Pannick), which amended Clause 1 of the Bill so that it now reads as follows:

“1 Assisted dying

(1) A person who is terminally ill may request and lawfully be provided with assistance to end his or her own life.

(2) Subsection (1) applies only if the High Court (Family Division), by order, confirms that it is satisfied that the person—

(a) has a voluntary, clear, settled and informed wish to end his or her own life;

(b) has made a declaration to that effect in accordance with section 3; and

(c) on the day the declaration is made—

(i) is aged 18 or over; and

(ii) has the capacity to make the decision to end his or her own life; and

(iii) has been ordinarily resident in England and Wales for not less than one year.”

In short, the amendment puts the process firmly under the control of the judiciary. The Guardian reported that the move had been welcomed by campaigners in favour of assisted dying as “a major step in changing the law”. Perhaps: but we still think it unlikely to become law in what is left of the present Parliament. It still has some way to go in the Lords – and has yet to be considered by the Commons.

Abortion and sex-selection

On Tuesday (the other) Fiona Bruce (Con, Congleton) successfully sought leave to introduce her Abortion (Sex-Selection) Bill in the Commons under the Ten Minute Rule: “a Bill to clarify the law relating to abortion on the basis of sex-selection; and for connected purposes”. The Bill has all-party backing but the suspicion is that its chances of reaching the statute-book are fairly remote.

Ritual slaughter Continue reading

Halal and shechita in the news again

With apologies for being somewhat repetitious…

The Times reports (£) that the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beef and Lamb has called for experiments on stunning sheep and cattle in order to satisfy consumers of halal meat. The Meat Trades Journal (which isn’t behind a paywall) reports that the Group:

“… suggests more research should be done in certain areas. The report highlights the measurement of pain in animals at the time of slaughter; concerns among religious groups that the bleed-out of the carcase is affected by stunning and whether there are methods of recoverable stunning that would be acceptable to some halal consumers, as areas which require further investigating”. Continue reading