Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lower House of Dutch Parliament Votes To Outlaw Kosher and Halal Slaughter

According to AP and Reuters, the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament yesterday passed, by a vote of 116-30, a bill that bans kosher and halal slaughter of animals.  The bill accomplishes this by eliminating a provision in current law that exempts ritual slaughter from the requirement that animals be stunned before they are killed. The bill still must be approved by the Dutch Senate, and this is unlikely before Parliament's summer recess.  Also enforcement of the law, if it finally passes, is complicated by an amendment added last week that allows religious groups to continue ritual slaughter if they can prove it is no more painful than stunning. No one seems to know how this would be shown. The bill was introduced by the small Animal Rights Party. Netherlands' Muslim and Jewish communities say the ban is an infringement of their religious freedom. According to AP: "Support for the ban came from the political left, which sees ritual slaughter as inhumane, and from the anti-immigration right, which sees it as foreign and barbaric. Only Christian parties were opposed, arguing the ban undermines the country's long tradition of religious tolerance." (See prior related posting.)

The European Jewish Congress-- the umbrella organization of Jews in Europe-- is considering taking legal action at the European Union level to challenge the bill before the Dutch Senate votes, according to Yeshiva World.