Monday, December 18, 2006

Is your child's school lunch halal?

From the UK:

Parents angered as every pupil is given halal school meals

Parents have reacted furiously after being sent letters telling them their children's school dinners have been all-halal for 'some time'.

To conform with Jewish and Muslim religious tradition, animals are prepared for halal products by having their throats slit while conscious - a method many people believe is inhumane and which the RSPCA has condemned.

The meat was introduced at four schools in the Reading area with a high proportion of Muslim pupils. But parents of non-Muslim pupils - between 20 and 50 per cent of the schools' roll -say they were not consulted.

Coach driver Andrew Weston, 37, who has a son and daughter at St John's primary school, said: "We received a letter saying only halal meat was being served and had been for some time. I was shocked."

A few years ago, my kids were going to a small non-religious private school which had been the victim of a hostile takeover by unscrupulous board members. The board wrested control away from the people who began the school, then summarily combined the school with a local Jewish private elementary school.

Our children were told that they would have to bring a lunch every day, since this new school wasn't serving lunch, and we were informed that any meals brought to school must be Kosher, even if our kids weren't Jewish. However, this new combined school was supposed to have been non-religious, to accommodate the new influx of non-Jewish students from our group.

Since we were unhappy with a number of other abrupt decisions the school was foisting upon us, we politely left and enrolled in a public school for the first time in our lives. Nobody is going to dictate to me what I feed my children... plain and simple. But we had the choice, since it was a private school setting. They're welcome to have any rules they like, but if I don't care for the rules, I have the right to withdraw my child and my $.

If I were a parent in the UK which had just found out my child was being given no non-halal options in a state-run school, I'd be raising the roof. If the Muslim kids have special dietary religious laws, they should bring their own lunches fixed the way they need it to be. I don't like that any more than I agree with the notion that public schools in the US should always serve fish on Fridays to placate all the Catholic families. It's bogus.

Just my opinion, of course. You're entitled to yours.

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