A halal butcher has spoken of his fear that the national debate over the slaughter of animals will encourage Islamophobia. Abdul Malik owns Bristol's Pak Butchers, a chain of halal butcher shops supplying the South West with traditionally-slaughtered meat.

John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), yesterday said that the traditional practice of slitting animals' throats and allowing them to bleed to death for halal and kosher meat caused unnecessary suffering.

The RSCPA has been calling for halal and kosher meat animals to be stunned before slaughter for a number of years.

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