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Daily Mail strikes ‘halal’ chord, again

Daily Mail strikes ‘halal’ chord, again

Categories: Latest News

Friday June 20 2014

Headlines in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph last week claimed that British soldiers were ‘secretly’ being fed halal meat because meat served by the military in the UK and in overseas bases is not labelled.

The Ministry of Defence’s response to a Freedom of Information request revealed that the MoD uses halal and kosher meat in its meals for armed forces personnel and that it does not hold information on the percentage of meat that is halal or kosher in origin.

Both the DM and DT in their headline pose this as another instance of halal meat ‘secretly’ passing into the food chain. The papers attentively note the MoD’s statement:

‘Our policy is in line with current UK legislation and Government guidelines and while there is no requirement for menus to state that a dish may or may not contain halal produce, service personnel with special dietary requirements are fully informed as to which dishes are suitable for them to eat.’

Moreover, the Daily Telegraph reports that the MoD stated that “Troops can ask at the serving point if the food that is being served is halal. There is always an alternative option.”

Since the campaign for pre-stunned religious slaughter, as advanced by the British Veterinarian Association, takes exception at unstunned slaughter, and that applies more to kosher than halal methods employed in the UK, why the media fixation with halal?

A point further enforced by the Daily Mail’s assertion that Muslims make up ‘less than 1%’ of the British Armed Forces.

But based on a freedom of information request, the MoD revealed that of the 166,460 armed forces personnel who have declared their religion, 650 are Muslims (0.39%) and 70 are Jewish (0.04%). The figures for Jewish members of the armed forces appears in neither article, unsurprisingly.

The Daily Mail’s virulent campaign against halal meat, posing as investigative journalism given the rampant claims made of it being ‘secretly’ supplied, is notable for two things:

First, the anti-Muslim bias in its coverage, evident in its disproportionate focus on halal slaughter methods.

Second, the two media groups most resistant to the implementation of the Royal Charter, which would go some way to addressing what Lord Justice Leveson observed was “a significant tendency within the press which leads to the publication of prejudicial or pejorative references to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental illness or disability”, are the publishers of the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.


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