Only stunned halal meat will be provided to schools by the county council’s catering service, following a vote by the authority’s full council.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet had made a decision in July to provide only stunned halal meat, except poultry, to schools.
However, after further consideration it was decided a final decision on the matter should be put to a vote so all councillors could consider the issue.
The decision to bring the matter before full council also followed communication with the Lancashire Council of Mosques.
Halal meat is supplied to 27 schools by the council’s catering service, where there is the demand for it from the Muslim community and where the headteacher and governing body request this for a proportion of children on the basis of their religious belief.
Halal meat is only offered to students whose parents have specifically requested it and these children can choose halal meat as one of a number of options.
County Coun. Geoff Driver CBE, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Given the strength of feeling on both sides of the debate it was important that all councillors got the opportunity to consider this issue.
“Today’s decision to ban the provision of meat from animals that were not stunned before they were slaughtered is purely an animal welfare issue. There is no other motivation.
“The county council will now work with the Lancashire Council of Mosques to mitigate against any unwanted and unwarranted consequences of this decision.”
The vote by the county council was: For 49, Against 23, Abstain 9
The motion was agreed that the county council will:
1. Not provide meat (other than poultry) to LCC establishments unless the animals were stunned before they were slaughtered
2. Consult with the Lancashire Council of Mosques and others on how the county council can implement this policy whilst continuing to provide meals which comply with the Muslim community’s religious beliefs.
3. Undertake further investigations with the Lancashire Council of Mosques into the stunning of poultry before slaughter.