Many are outraged as the EU is preparing to allow the remains of pig carcasses to be used in poultry feed, which would save UK farmers millions of pounds as cereal prices soar.
The practice of using pig remains in chicken feed was banned in Europe after the BSE crisis 10 years ago. This proposal, according to the Observer, has outraged animal rights campaigners, and Muslim organisations among other groups, who claim the move would put families at risk, offend religious sensibilities and lead to a major consumer backlash.
"There are two million Muslims in Britain and 25 million in Europe and this move would be a disaster for every one of them," said Dr Abdel Majid-Katme of the Islamic Medical Association, adding that this is a sinful idea.
Offended consumersThe RSPCA voiced its concerns about the health risks involved. Additionally, agriculture experts believe many consumers would be offended by the idea of a return to the use of animal remains in farm feeds. "I think there will be such a backlash from consumers that the idea would have to be
dropped," said Tom Acamovic, a nutrition expert based at the Scottish Agricultural College.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it would back the move only if proper safety tests were introduced.
"We understand the European Commission will be submitting a proposal later this year," said a spokesman. "We would only support it if we were fully satisfied that appropriate and effective testing had taken place to control the use of such proteins in poultry feed."
The proposal, however, is backed by a former risk assessment adviser for the Food Standards Agency, Philip Comer of DNV Consulting. "The by-products of slaughter are a very valuable source of protein," he said. "We should not be wasting it."