And it can’t have escaped anyone’s attention that issues relating to the religious slaughter of livestock have been making many headlines of late, as well as prompting parliamentary discussion.
While the subject remains highly emotive, it is imperative that, irrespective of the stance taken on the issues, the debate is based on sound knowledge to maintain a productive dialogue.
This week EBLEX staged a Halal Seminar in Warwickshire to take a closer look at the opportunities and challenges facing the sector. More than 60 delegates heard from a raft of sector experts on a range of topics relating to the Halal sector.
Subjects covered included marketing activity for the sector and global opportunities for exports, as well as consumer perceptions of Halal products and dietary health. A lively question and answer session also provided the perfect platform for further discussion on specific areas of interest.
So, why should we organise a seminar on Halal? As a levy body, EBLEX collects a slaughter levy from all abattoirs and therefore has a duty of representation across the sector. The Halal sector is also a important and growing market, with opportunities both in the UK and overseas.
Delegates were told about marketing activity and the export opportunities open to Halal products, with Jean-Pierre Garnier suggesting the Halal lamb market in the EU could be growing at around five per cent a year. He outlined how the UK, producing 43 per cent of the EU’s commercialised production, was ideally placed to cater for the European Muslim population. Further afield he said opportunities in non-EU markets had huge potential, citing China’s appetite for Halal lamb as an example.
Delegates also heard about new EBLEX research into the welfare of animals in both stun and non-stun situations. Diets and consumer health came under the spotlight with AHDB nutrition manager Maureen Strong discussing the health challenges that appear to be of particular relevance to South East Asian communities.
There’s no doubt the subject of slaughter in accordance with religious rites will continue to prompt emotive debate. Ultimately slaughtering is about animal welfare and EBLEX will continue to work with the industry to ensure the debate remains properly informed – a point perfectly illustrated by this week’s seminar.
EBLEX’s research into the Halal meat market can be found here.
Consumer research, a lamb cutting guide for the Halal market and other resources can be found on the EBLEX trade marketing website www.eblextrade.co.uk/halal.