Muslim and Jewish communities in Bradford have reacted angrily to calls for a change in religious slaughtering of animals.

A leading vet says more humane methods of killing should be used for halal and kosher meat.

But the chief executive of Bradford Council of Mosques has dismissed the calls as ‘unhelpful’.

“Such remarks cause problems for Muslims, who feel they are being targeted by wrong thinking,” said Mohammed Saleem Khan.

And an official with the Jewish Representative Council ruled out any change to centuries-old slaughter methods.

“We believe our ways are more humane than non-kosher killings,” said Hilton Lorie, honorary life vice-president of the Leeds JRC, which covers the Bradford area.

Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons sells halal and kosher meat – including non-stun, obtained through respected suppliers.

John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, triggered controversy by saying religious slaughter caused unnecessary suffering to animals.

Jewish and Islamic practices involve animals having their throats slit and the blood drained. Mr Blackwell has suggested stunning the animals so they are unconscious before the fatal cut is made. He said British abattoirs could follow the example of Denmark, which bans the slaughter of animals not stunned prior to death.

He said the way halal and kosher meat is created resulted in ‘five or six seconds’ of pain for the animal.

“They will feel the massive injury of the neck tissues.”

But Mr Khan said: “Animals suffer less with the Islamic method. For us, animal welfare is most important. It is part of the obligation of our faith. The whole philosophy is to be humane to all creatures.

“This kind of comment does not help at all. Our fundamental issues are those of respect, valuing and caring for each other."

Mr Lorie said: “We believe the Jewish method of slaughter is the most humane. The bolt shot through the head often does not stun but causes tremendous pain.”

He said kosher slaughterers were highly trained and worked with top-level equipment, and he ruled out any change to Jewish procedures. "This has been our chosen way for thousands of years,” he said.

A spokesman for Morrisons said: “All Morrisons-branded fresh meat is British and the majority is processed at our own abattoirs. None is slaughtered under halal or kosher methods.

“We respect the fact some religious communities want to eat food produced in accordance with their beliefs and sell branded halal and kosher products where there is strong customer demand (including non stun). These products are clearly labelled as halal or kosher to allow informed choice.

“All of our halal meat is sourced through respected suppliers that are audited. We label our products in line with legal requirements.”