Anti-Islam group set to picket factory over 'barbaric' halal meat
A group that has described Islamic scripture as "barbaric" is planning to stage a protest at the gates of Dungannon-based meat processing firm Dunbia over its use of Halal slaughter methods.
Exposing Islam - Northern Ireland 2, which counts Belfast councillor Jolene Bunting among its followers, plans to hold a Say No to Halal protest on November 4.
The demonstration is listed to begin at 2pm outside the firm's site on Granville Road.
Thirty people have indicated via social media that they are interested in attending.
Dunbia's Dungannon plant is described on the Halal Food Authority's website as a "slaughterhouse, cutting plant and distributor of Halal lamb, sheep and mutton only".
Halal slaughter involves a sharp instrument being used to cut an animal's throat before all its blood is drained.
While British law requires animals to be pre-stunned before slaughter in normal circumstances, there is an exemption for Jewish and Muslim methods under the Slaughter of Animals Act 1933.
Some Muslims accept pre-stunning of animals, while others do not.
A spokesperson for Exposing Islam - Northern Ireland 2 told this newspaper the group was "totally opposed to halal slaughter, on animal welfare grounds".
They also claimed the organisation planned to mount pickets at other locations across Northern Ireland.
The spokesperson said: "The animal can become very distressed during the barbaric process.
"Exposing Islam - Northern Ireland 2 are totally opposed to Halal slaughter, on animal welfare grounds. Exposing Islam - Northern Ireland 2 are aware of other Halal plants, wholesalers and shops and will be holding similar pickets against them."
A spokeswoman for Dunbia confirmed to this newspaper that the firm did employ halal slaughter methods at its Dungannon plant.
"The company works to the very highest animal welfare standards and uses humane slaughter processes where all animals are stunned before slaughter, with relevant staff trained to the WATOK (welfare of animals at the time of killing) standard," she explained.
Last night councillor Bunting said she was "no longer an administrator" of the group's Facebook page, but still followed it.
In addition to the halal protests, Exposing Islam - Northern Ireland 2 said it was in talks with a Belfast cinema to screen the UK premiere of a documentary film funded by an American far-right, anti-Muslim extremist group.
Can't We Talk About This?, which is funded by the American Freedom Defence Initiative, is billed as "the true story of the Islamic Supremacist war on free speech, as told by those on the front lines fighting for our First Amendment rights".