French butchers call for mandatory halal labelling
The association of Ile-de-France craft butchers has released a statement asking for “the French government and the European parliament to set up mandatory labelling mentioning the way animals were slaughtered, so that professionals and consumers are no longer victims of a system and can buy in all transparency”.
The French Agriculture Ministry answered that this type of labelling was not permitted under EU law.
The move comes after far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen lodged an official complaint for “misrepresentation of products”, arguing that all meat distributed in Ile-de-France was halal, without consumers being aware of it.
The craft butchers’ association asked for non-stun halal slaughterings to stay an exception, as the method presents sanitary risks and can increase “carcase soiling”. Le Pen is also campaigning for mandatory stunning of animals before slaughter, pointing to welfare issues.
By declaring that 100% of the meat sold in Ile-de-France was halal, the candidate stirred a nationwide debate on transparency, religious rituals and animal cruelty. The Chamber of Agriculture confirmed that four of the five abattoirs in the region were halal, the last one specialising in pork products.
However, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that only 2.5% of the meat consumed in the Paris area was slaughtered according to religious rituals, as most retailers sourced their meat from other regions. Most political parties said Le Pen was using the halal debate to influence voters in the presidential election.