• France's news in English

Pupils at French school told: 'It's pork or no meat'

The Local/AFP · 5 Mar 2013, 14:38

Published: 05 Mar 2013 14:38 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

From this month onwards the school in the village of Arveyres in the Gironde region of south-west France will no longer offer a meat alternative to those children who do not eat pork, which is forbidden under Jewish and Muslim dietary laws.

Around 30 of the 180 children used to be offered a substitute meat when pork was on the menu, France's TF1 television reports.

 Parents of some of those pupils affected have taken umbrage to the decision.

“We are not asking for halal or kosher meat,” one mother told France blue radio. “We just want a meal with substitute protein.”

Certain parents had even offered to cook meals for the children and bring them to school but their offer was dismissed by the town's mayor because it would be "logistically hard to implement and ethically shocking".

The mayor of Arveyres, Benoit Gheysens told AFP the move was being taken because of the cost of providing alternative meals, many of which went to waste.

"Often children who did not take the substitute dinner complained as well and left the pork. It distressed the staff to see how much food was wasted," Gheysens said.

The mayor, who believes the school in Arveyres is not the only one in France facing such a dilemma, has vowed that the children will get all the protein they need saying vegetables, salads and lentils will be offered when pork is on the menu.

The mayor said pork was served no more than once a week.

The issue of halal meat is often a controversial topic in France and has been used as a political football, especially when elections approach.

Marine Le Pen the leader of the anti-immigration National Front party launched a fierce row before last year’s presidential elections when she claimed all meat from abatoirs in the Paris region was prepared using Islamic halal traditions and non-Muslim consumers in the capital were being misled.

Story continues below…

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy then waded into the row suggesting that meat should be labelled to tell consumers how the animal was slaughtered, which Jews and Muslims reject because they fear it will lead to them being stigmatized.

Former Interior Minister under Sarkozy, Claude Gueant, said at the time that halal meat was one reason why the government opposed François Hollande's plan to give foreign residents the vote in French local elections.

"For example, we don't want foreign local councillors making halal meat obligatory in school canteens," he said.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) hit back, slamming what it said was the use of Muslims as "scapegoats" in the election campaign.

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available