Muslims Neil and Nikki Payne moved to the English countryside to escape London’s frenetic pace. They sought a greener lifestyle and were extremely unhappy with the quality of meat sold by butchers and supermarkets.
The Paynes suspected much of the meat labeled “halal” (slaughtered in accordance with Islamic principles) may not be legit. Conversations with breeders, abattoir owners and locals revealed some uncomfortable truths about the industry: a lack of standards, ethics and principles. The couple decided to launch the United Kingdom’s first organic halal meat company, investing their life savings.
Abraham Natural Produce provides organic, ethically reared, halal meat. The Paynes believe the UK’s Muslim population benefits from local, high-quality organic food.
“We decided to set up the company as a service for people who think like us,” Neil says. “Our target market is people who really care about the quality of the animals, their treatment, what they are fed 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 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.”
The launch comes at a time when the public is showing increased interest in organic and naturally reared meat and produce. The Paynes would ultimately like consumers to put an end to the domination of supermarkets over local food producers.
“You are what you eat,” Neil says. “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.”