A HALAL butcher has criticised Government advisors who have called for an immediate ban on the method of animal slaughter used by Muslims and Jews.

The Government has been asked by Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) to repeal exemptions in British law to produce Kosher and Halal meat as they claim it causes severe suffering to animals.

Omar Hayath, of the Halal Meat Market, in Dashwood Road, High Wycombe, said: "If the Government is going to ban this then a lot of small businesses are going to lose trade and go out of business and put people on the dole.

"You have a lot of people who have been in this trade for a long time, who have a lot of experience and probably can't do anything else. It would badly effect the Muslim community and businesses."

Mr Hayath added: "I don't really think it will go ahead. This is a matter of conscience. How are you going to police it? There will still be Muslim communities all over the country which will continue to have halal meat but instead there will be no regulations over it."

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, head of the UK Muslim Parliament and a resident of Chesham, does not the believe it will be acted on.

He said: "The Government has assured us the exemption will stay. It has carried some concern in the Muslim and Jewish communities but we do not expect it to happen."

Dr Siddiqui said the Muslim Parliament had been working with the FAWC so the slaughtering of animals is carried out as humanely as possible.

But he said the animals could not be stunned before being slaughtered as this would compromise their practise where the animal must be alive and healthy before being killed. The blood must be allowed to drain away freely.

Dr Siddiqui added: "Stunning the animal would not meet the Islamic requirements. This would be unacceptable as the animal could be damaged by the stunning.

"Both Halal and Kosher groups will be working together to make sure that this exemption stays on the legislature books."