PIZZA EXPRESS has said that all chicken served in dishes on its menu has been ritually slaughtered. The restaurant chain’s choice to serve halal meat has caused controversy and provoked anger among some campaigners who feel the Islamic method of slaughter can cause unnecessary suffering.
Under Islamic law, chicken as well as other meats, can only be eaten if they have been killed in a certain way. The throat of the animal needs to be slit whilst it’s still alive and a Koranic verse is recited.
A spokesman for the firm said: “Our chicken is halal approved. We serve halal chicken in all of our UK restaurants. Pizza Express is committed to animal welfare standards.
“As such birds are stunned before being slaughtered. We are very happy to provide this information to our guests.
“We spend a lot of time listening to our guests and do our best to cater to their needs. Whether this means creating vegan-friendly pizzas or serving halal chicken, we take their feedback seriously.”
However, customers are only told that the chicken they are eating is killed in line with the strict Islamic traditions if they ask and many feel that it should be clearly stated on the menu.
Stephen Evans, of the National Secular Society told The Sun, “Unsuspecting members of the public are routinely being duped into buying meat from religious slaughter methods.
“Meat should be properly labelled, enabling consumers to make an informed choice about the food they’re buying.”
The high street chain, which has 434 restaurants across the UK, is not the first to only use halal meat. Last week it was revealed that Subway has removed ham and bacon from nearly 200 of its food outlets and now offer halal meat alternatives in an attempt to please its Muslim customers.
Subway has around 1,500 outlets across the UK and explained its decision by saying it had to balance animal welfare concerns with “the views of religious communities”.
The halal meat market is currently worth an estimated £2.6billion a year in the UK and is expected to rise further with Britain’s Muslim population of 2.7 million predicted to double by 2030, according to the Pew Research Centre.
Read the report from a Footprint Special Interest Group meeting on consumer choice in the context of halal HERE