Somerset Couple Launch First Organic Halal Meat Business for Muslims

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After escaping the city to start a greener lifestyle, Neil & Nikki started to uncover some truths about the halal meat business. In response they have now launched their own company selling organic, ethically reared halal meat.

Having moved to the countryside in order to escape the hustle and bustle of London and to start a greener lifestyle, English Muslims Neil and Nikki Payne wanted to address their meat consumption. Unhappy with the quality of meat available in butchers and at the supermarkets, they had practically become vegetarian. There was always a suspicion that the much of the meat branded as "halal" (meaning slaughtered in accordance with Islamic principles) may not be truly halal. Having become smallholders virtually overnight in a small village in Somerset they started to buy and slaughter animals themselves to guarantee a compassionate ending and truly halal meat. Through conversations with breeders, abattoir owners and locals they soon discovered some uncomfortable truths about the halal meat industry which has resulted in them launching the UK's first organic halal meat company.

After taking the plunge in their early thirties to split from the capital, starting an organic halal meat business was the last thing on the minds of Neil and Nikki. However after witnessing first hand the lack of standards, ethics and principles in much of the halal meat industry they decided to address the problem. They took the plunge and invested their life savings in starting up Abraham Natural Produce, a company providing organic, ethically reared and halal meat. Although targeting the UK Muslim population the couple believe the idea has a wider appeal, especially to those interested in local, natural, good quality produce. One of the unique selling points for Abraham Natural Produce is that Neil went to the lengths of becoming a licensed slaughter man and now slaughters each and every animal himself, guaranteeing that all their meat is 100% genuine halal.

"We decided to set up the company as a service for people who think like us. Our target market is people who really care about the quality of the animals, their treatment, what they are fed on and how they are slaughtered. We are the only company that can tell a customer when and where their lamb was born, what breed it was, where it lived, what it ate, what air it breathed and who slaughtered it. Show me a halal butcher that can do that. In addition we also promote eco-friendly values, support local providers and donate a percentage of profits to charities that help feed the poor and underprivileged. Our business model is not profit driven but conscience driven," states Neil Payne.

The launch comes at a time when the public are showing more and more interest in organic and naturally-reared produce. Statistics show that in the period from 2005-2006, sales of organic produce grew an astonishing 30%. Abraham Natural Produce now addresses this issue for the UK Muslim population. On top of this the ethos of the company sits well with many voices that would like to see an end to the domination of the supermarkets in favour of local foods.

"You are what you eat," adds Neil, "so when you are eating flesh, something else's DNA, you need to be 100% positive that the animal was pure, healthy and above all happy."

For more information on Abraham Natural Produce, based in Somerset (UK) please visit their site at http://www.organic-halal-meat.com or call 01460 240411.

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