I write in response to the comments made by Shuiab Khan in his weekly column when discussing the opening of a new halal butchers in Blackburn.

He is of the opinion that “most people couldn’t care less if food was halal or not as long as it tastes good”.

I am afraid Mr Khan is under a gross misapprehension.Whilst I accept that this traditional slaughter of animals in this manner is considered to be an essential ingredient of the Muslim faith in my opinion it is barbaric, cruel and inhumane.

As an aside on the subject of faith many prominent Asian scholars see no issue with stunning provided that the process does not kill the animal. They argue that the Qur’an only requires that an animal be alive at the time its throat is cut and the holy book makes no reference to stunning.

The British Veterinary Association has called for all animals to be effectively stunned before slaughter whilst the Farm Animal Council and the EU Food Safety Authority maintains that there is a high probability that the cutting of sensitive tissues at the neck will trigger a significant pain response in a conscious animal.

A barrage of evidence suggest there is a time lapse of 14 seconds for sheep to become insensible following severing of the carotid arteries and for cattle 85 seconds.

Existing European law requires stunning before slaughter but the UK allows an exemption for religious beliefs but I believe we should join Denmark, Switzerland, Slovakia, Norway and Ireland in voting to ban religious slaughter on the grounds that animal rights come before religion.

Questions are being raised in the Commons and the House of Lords on this topic and the Green party have included it in their manifesto.

I would remind Mr Khan that 94 million animals suffered needlessly in the UK in 2018 as a result of non stun slaughter. In the UK we have a culture and history of compassion towards animals who rely upon us to fight on their behalf and I for one refuse to look the other way as they are tortured

One final point I firmly believe all halal meat should be clearly labelled enabling the customer to make their own choice.

Jim Oldcorn