Pardon me for mentioning my pet hate, but I have a major problem with halal and kosher meat being sold to the general public as much of it is non-stun slaughter. First and foremost, I care about animal welfare. It isn't any one religion I abhor, it is the demanded methods of slaughter that I object to. I would say the same about any religion that put ideology before animal welfare. We banned the pagan sacrifice of cockerels in this country, so why do we allow any animal sacrifice at all?
UK law stipulates that animals must be rendered unconscious before slaughter, but there is an exemption for ritually slaughtered meat. Kosher meat is never stunned before slaughter, and although some halal producers claim that the animal is stunned first it is a 'partial' stun, where the animal will recover if not bled out quickly. Some scientists claim that the partial stun only paralyses the animal but that it is still conscious and feels pain. A full stun renders the animal unconscious and can, on occasion, kill the animal outright, but the heart will keep beating for few minutes until the animal is bled out. Many opponents of ritual slaughter say that the continuance of a beating heart should be sufficient to cater for the demand that the animal dies from blood loss. There is much disagreement about partial stunning. Supporters of ritual slaughter will tell you that non-stun is fine, as the blood loss leads to a quick death, but this has been disproven, especially in cattle, as they have an additional artery that feeds the brain which is not cut during during the slitting of the throat, and therefore they remain conscious much longer.
Additionally, the religious exemption also says that ritually slaughtered meat should only be sold to people of that religion, but this is not enforced, and halal and kosher meat is sold to the general public without any identification.
Non-stun slaughter is on the increase in the UK, and the % of non-stun slaughter far outweighs the % of people of those religions in the UK. Muslims are encouraged to demand non-stun slaughter by the HFA (Halal food authority).
To add insult to injury, each halal slaughtered animal incurs a zakat tax, which goes to fund Muslim 'charities', and some speculate that it also funds terrorism.
Halal is the only food provided in many schools and hospitals because Muslims refuse to eat Haram meat (forbidden, non-halal) and will not allow halal and non-halal foods to be prepared in the same kitchen, therefore it is more cost efficient for schools and hospitals to prepare halal for everyone. Many fast food establishment and restaurants only serve Halal for the same reason, eg. Subway, Kentucky Fried chicken.
There is no guaranteed way to identify ritually slaughtered meat. I check the EU number of the slaughterhouses and packing plants, but there are no up to date lists of which slaughterhouses produce religiously slaughtered meat.
If anyone is interested, I can post links to articles. I won't post the videos of non-stun slaughter as these are too horrific for the average person to watch without suffering nightmares, but I am happy to post links to written articles, letters and responses.