Somerville College students call for kosher meat ban

Somerville College Image copyright Google
Image caption The college said it would look at ways of expanding its halal and kosher offering

An Oxford University college is considering a request from students to ban certain kinds of halal and kosher meat from its dining hall.

Somerville College's Junior Common Room (JCR) passed a motion that any animals on the menu should be stunned before being killed.

Jewish students have raised concerns because kosher meat should not be pre-stunned.

The college said it would still expand its halal and kosher offering.

It is looking into the request by the JCR, which is the body that represents students at the college, but the vote by the students is not binding.

A college spokesman added: "We want all our students to feel comfortable and well looked-after, including at meal-times.

"We are looking into expanding our provision of halal and kosher meat, and also providing more lactose-free, gluten-free and meat-free options, following a request by the JCR."

Nicole Jacobus, president of the university's Jewish Society, said: "The very fact that this amendment was passed in a JCR meeting without a Jewish student being able to challenge it highlights the lack of diversity and awareness of other cultures amongst students in Oxford.

"The vote to ban kosher food only makes the diversity issue worse, as it shows that Jewish students are not only poorly provided for, but that they cannot actively practise as Jews at Somerville.

"This reflects badly on the whole of the Oxford student community."

Judaism forbids the use of stunning, where animals are made immobile or unconscious, immediately before slaughter.

There is debate about elements of halal, such as whether stunning is allowed.

Stunning cannot be used to kill an animal, according to the Halal Food Authority, but it can be used if the animal survives and is then killed by halal methods.

The RSPCA says slaughter without pre-stunning "can cause unnecessary suffering".

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