I was having a discussion with a group of friends on halāl meat and would appreciate if you could shed some light on this topic. Allāh has permitted us to eat the flesh of animals slaughtered by Ahl-i Kitāb. Here in the UK the meat that is generally available is approved by the church (though I have not confirmed this). I think the only condition they have is that the blood be drained (again this is contentious as stunning is used). However, assuming it is approved by the Church, would it make this meat permissible for Muslims to consume although the people who may be slaughtering the animals may be atheists / non-Christian / non-Jews? Can we follow the assumption that the UK is a Christian country? I found this reference on another site, islamqa.com
If a Muslim or a kitābī (Jew or Christian) slaughters an animal for meat, and it is not known whether he mentioned the name of Allāh while slaughtering it or not, it is permissible to eat from it, and the one who eats it should say the name of Allāh, because of the report that was narrated by al-Bukhāri (2057) from 'Ā'ishah (may Allāh be pleased with her), that some people said: O Messenger of Allāh, some people bring meat to us, and we do not know whether they invoked the name of Allāh while [preparing it] it or not. The Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: "Invoke the name of Allāh over it and eat."
The animal needs to be slaughtered according to the Sharī'ah. Since the Sharī'ah of Islam and the Sharī'ah of Ahl al-Kitāb have originally similar rulings in this regard believers are allowed to eat the flesh of animals slaughtered by the People of the Book. However, this allowance presupposes that the kitābi (a Jew or a Christian) slaughters the animal properly so as its blood is completely drained off and he invokes the name of God while slaughtering it.
If approval of the Church means that the Sharī'ah rules have been applied then the meat is consumable, otherwise, mere approval does not make the meat ḥalāl. It can be that the Church does not find it necessary to follow any Sharī'ah in slaughtering animals and, therefore, approves the common method of slaughtering. This seems to be the case here since most Christians do not follow any Sharī'ah when slaughtering animals. Since traditionally UK was a Christian country, even though the state follows a secular approach, in my opinion it can still be considered as a Christian country.
The ḥadīth you referred to is applicable in a doubtful situation only. The assumption here is that the people who have slaughtered the animal are generally observing the Sharī'ah but we are not sure whether they have accurately done the slaughtering in this very occasion. (Other versions of the ḥadīth say that the meat was offered by some new Muslims. Obviously this is irrelevant to the case where we are certain that people who carry out the slaughtering do not usually follow Sharī'ah.