THE controversy over Brinsworth Manor Infant and Junior School opting to serve only halal meals got me thinking about how we as a society think of blessed meat and foods.
I consider myself to be religious, though not necessarily practising (sorry, Gran).
I went to a Catholic school and through all the sacraments that deem me a true Roman Catholic.
I eat meat, and for those who do not know, in my religion any meat from any animal is permitted.
Though we do like Friday fish day to celebrate St Peter, it won’t put a black mark on our souls if we opt for an alternative.
But, because of what our local supermarkets provide, and what my school and college served, I have to eat halal meat.
Personally, I see nothing against it — the meat is blessed before it is sacrificed.
But when it meant relatively homemade, and frankly healthier meals, were taken away from my school menu, due to them containing pork, I was quite taken aback.
If you’re going to replace a school meal, the obvious option for me, would be to consider something much more healthy, but instead, due to the nature of school ready meals, it was the complete polar opposite.
As memory serves, we were given the option of a meat pie, the meat usually being completely clear and anything but meat, or an oozing quiche — enough to make your stomach churn.
I understand that the halal option should be readily available for anyone, not just certain religious groups.
But when feeding impressionable young teenagers, it’s much better to be healthier, surely?
Why couldn’t they send the school a good quality halal meal?
The uproar at Brinsworth school had me thinking: “So what?”
All the children are being “deprived” of is pork — give it to them for tea instead!
All halal necessitates is an alternative method when the animal is killed and a prayer beforehand.
The meat itself tastes no different.
Your child isn’t been fed a religion or a way of life — it’s still meat.
However, I do think that the halal options should be displayed to everyone — pupils in the canteen, customers at the supermarket, even workers buying their lunch.
We have consumer rights, we should know exactly what it is we are purchasing.
Unfortunately, some stores still do not disclose the source for their meat.
It is usually cheaper, lacks in quality, and injected with bulkers such as water.
Meat is rarely described as halal or not.
Having said that, as a consumer on a tight budget like the majority of us post-Christmas, if there were two options of mince, exactly the same, bar the price, and the cheaper one was halal... I know what I’d pick.
And I know I wouldn’t be alone either.