by Nick Hallett 30 Apr 2014, 8:23 AM PDT
Sandwich chain Subway has removed ham and bacon from its menus in nearly 200 stores, instead serving halal meat, following calls from their Muslim customers. Participating stores are serving turkey ham and rashers in place of the non-halal products.
A Subway spokeswoman told MailOnline that stores have introduced the meat "following a strong demand from our Muslim customers." Branches taking part in the scheme are required to display signs saying "All meats are Halal".
Subway sandwiches affected by the rules include the Italian BMT, the Meatball Marinara, Spicy Italian and Steak and Cheese.
Under Islamic law, Muslims are prohibited from consuming non-halal meat, and all meat from pigs. Meat is considered halal if it has been slaughtered according to religious custom. This usually involves a Muslim slaughterman invoking the name of Allah, before cutting the animal’s throat, windpipe and blood vessels with a sharp knife and draining the blood. According to Islamic scholars, the animal must be conscious while it is killed.
Animal welfare campaigners say that killing the animal while it is still conscious is unnecessarily cruel. In standard abattoirs, the animal is first stunned before being slaughtered. Some halal butchers also practice pre-stunning, even though many Islamic scholars say this is not allowed.
Slaughtering an animal without stunning it first is illegal in Britain, apart from on religious grounds, with Muslims and Jews granted special dispensation. There are estimated to be 12 abattoirs in Britain dedicated to unstunned slaughtering, while hundreds more produce halal meat using pre-stunning.
A Subway spokeswoman told MailOnline that all halal meat served in the sandwich chain is pre-stunned. She added: "The growing popularity of the Subway chain with the diverse multicultural population across the UK and Ireland means we have to balance the values of many religious communities with the overall aim of improving the health and welfare standards of animals.
"We put a programme into place in 2007 to ensure that the population demographic is taken into account when new store openings are considered in order that we meet consumer demand in each location
"All our suppliers comply with EU animal welfare legislation as a minimum and we require suppliers of halal products to adopt the stunning of animals prior to their slaughter."