THE letter Shame of serving halal meat at our schools (October 12 issue) is wrong to claim that Jews kill animals by having their throats cut and their blood drained while still conscious and have agreed to stunning first.

This depicts a practice very different from the reality. Shechita - the Jewish religious humane method of animal slaughter for food - fulfils the requirements of animal welfare and humane slaughter and has been endorsed as a humane method of animal slaughter by leading scientific and veterinary authorities and successive British Governments, for centuries.

Shechita actually accomplished what other methods of slaughter attempt, namely the immediate and irreversible abolition of consciousness until death supervenes.

The Torah (Jewish Bible) is the first systematic legislation prohibiting cruelty to animals and mandating their humane treatment. Abidance of Jewish law necessitates that animals are treated with consideration, kindness and respect. Not only is it prohibited to cause pain to animals, but a Jew is in fact obligated to relieve an animal's suffering.

DAVID RUSSELL The Shechita UK PR Office London