If there’s a run on kosher meat in the UK this month, blame McDonald’s.
No, the global fast-food chain isn’t hoarding beef for rabbinically certified Big Macs. But it has ordered Slaney Foods — one of its largest suppliers, and a giant UK meat producer — to stop providing kosher meat as cruelty concerns grow around ritual slaughter of animals, according to Brit industry site MeatInfo.
McDonald’s has denied involvement in the Slaney’s decision; a spokesperson told MeatInfo that “if Slaney has stopped producing kosher meat as a result of our non-specification, then there has been a misunderstanding. Our supply chain is in discussion with the Slaney abattoir to ensure they can continue to produce kosher meat separately to their production of traceable, non-kosher meat for McDonald’s UK.”
But YNetNews reports that “all fingers are pointing towards McDonalds. For years the UK division of the popular fast food chain has maintained a policy which bans kosher or halal meat, claiming the religious slaughtering methods cause great suffering to animals.”
In early October, the (UK) Daily Mail revealed that McDonald’s had been serving halal chicken without telling customers; while the chain denied the accusations at first, it later admitted the allegations were true. While conventional slaughtering methods stun animals before killing them, animal-rights advocates say ritual-slaughter methods cause unnecessary suffering by leaving animals conscious, according to the Daily Mail.
McDonald’s explained the McHalal meat was a mistake, according to YNetNews, “and issued an order requiring its suppliers to provide its branches with meat that has not undergone any ‘kosher’ method of slaughtering.”
Slaney Foods’ production manager said Wednesday that their decision to stop producing kosher meat indeed “stemmed from public criticism over the issue of religious slaughtering methods,” YNetNews said. Meanwhile, the chair of the UK Kosher Licensed Butchers’ Association told MeatInfo that kosher purveyors like him are the ones really suffering. “Shechitah is under threat once again,” said Jacky Lipowicz. “The constant harassment of shechitah has led to this situation.”