LANCASHIRE Council of Mosques chairman Salim Mulla has criticised former county leader Geoff Driver for imposing his animal welfare views on the Muslim community.

He spoke out after the Tory urged the giant authority to pre-stun all animals killed for meat in school meals.

Coun Driver put a motion to this month’s county council meeting calling for this to become official policy despite the view of some Muslims that such meat was not ‘halal’ as defined under Islamic law.

He said: “This is about one issue and one issue alone, animal cruelty.”

He added that ‘80 per cent’ of halal meat was prepared in this way.

Jenny Mein, Labour leader of the county, which is responsible for school meals in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Rossendale and Chorley, referred the issue to Lancashire’s scrutiny committee.

Coun Mulla, Mayor of Blackburn, said pre-stunned meat was not considered Halal by some Muslims.

He said: “This is Coun Driver’s view on animal welfare and I respect that.

“However he should not impose that view on Muslim families whose children go to Lancashire county council schools.

“There is a view in Islam that Halal meat should not come from animals stunned before slaughter which I subscribe to.

“Muslim parents should have a choice of meat that adheres to their view of halal.

“There are Orthodox Jews in Lancashire who would share my concerns.

Coun Driver, who put forward the motion, said: “This is not a matter about halal, it is a matter about animal cruelty.

“The process of slaughtering an animal without stunning it involves severing at least three of the four main arteries, and it dies in considerable distress.

“There is an alternative that is acceptable to the vast majority of Muslims.”

Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I am not sure this motion to the full Lancashire county council meeting is the best way forward. The county council and council of mosques need to sit down and find a solution for this.”