MUSLIMS and Jews across Britain are enraged over proposals by a government- funded think tank to ban the slaughter of animals that have not been stunned first.
The two faiths are furious with the recommendationby the Farm Animal Welfare Council, saying it goes against ancient religious rites.
Under both Jewish and Muslim law animals must be alive and uninjured when slaughtered by having their throats cut, with the blood draining away.
Followers of both faiths say current stunning methods effectively kill an animal or cause it sufficient injury to contravene their laws.
European regulations require all farm animalsto be stunned before slaughter but provides exemptions for those killed by religious methods, known as halal for Muslims and shechita for Jews.
The Farm Animal Welfare Council is an independent advisory body established and funded by the Government to review animal welfare on farms, at market, in transit and at slaughter.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that a report on animal welfare by the council would be published in the next few weeks. He said it was likely to contain a recommendation to ban the religious slaughter of animals without pre-stunning on the grounds that it was inhumane.
The director-general of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Neville Nagler, said, "Stunning causes such internal damage to an animal it renders it unsuitable for slaughter in accordance with Jewish tradition.
"We are very disappointed that FAWC seems to have ignored our evidence.
"How can we talk of living in a multicultural society if a fundamental of Jewish life is banned?"
The president of the Halal Food Authority, Masood Khawaja, said the exemptions for religious slaughter had been in existence for many years for good reason.
"Animals killed under Muslim law do not feel any pain because it is carried out expertly," he said.
"If the Government was to move this recommendation forward it would upset Muslims not only in this country but around the world."