A north London school has provoked the ire of parents after announcing a move to serve up only halal meat to children.
Kingsgate Primary in West Hampstead is among a growing numbers of schools with high Muslim populations to use halal-only meat in cooking.
The menus feature only meat that has been slaughtered in the halal way with a single cut to the throat.
Muslims believe halal is the most painless method since the neck is severed quickly, preventing the livestock feeling pain, but some animal rights activists claim the method is less humane than modern slaughtering techniques where the animal is stunned before being killed.
Staff at Kingsgate, where three quarters of pupils are Muslim, were forced to call the police after one father strode into the to challenge the new meals policy.
Parents carrying placards congregated at the school gates to demand a reversal of the policy, claiming their children would be denied a choice.
But headmistress Liz Hayward defended the policy, insisting that a majority of parents had backed the move to halal-only menus in a comprehensive survey of families.
A spokeswoman from Camden Council said that Kingsgate was among four schools in the borough to have opted for halal-only menus.
"There will also be a vegetarian choice and a jacket potato with toppings of cheese, beans or fish, so there is always a hot, healthy option available for all children," she told the Evening Standard.
By Daniel Thomas