Thursday, January 24, 2019

Belgium's Top Court Hears Arguments On Kosher/ Halal Slaughter Ban

Hamodia reports on lengthy oral arguments yesterday before Belgium's Council of State-- the country's highest court-- on laws that effectively ban kosher and halal slaughter by requiring animals be stunned before slaughter.  The ban has been enacted in Wallonia and Flanders regions. Separate suits were filed challenging each of the laws. (See prior posting). Jewish and Muslim groups claim that the laws violate Belgium's constitution and the European Union's Charter of Rights. According to Hamodia's report:
During the session, attorneys summarized the arguments submitted in briefs in December 2017, when the case was filed. Key points that Jewish groups have made are that, in addition to the law’s violation of freedom of religion, the law inhibits the professions of shochtim and kosher butchers and discriminates against Jews and Muslims. Briefs also cite fishermen and hunters as examples of groups who kill animals in different ways but are unfettered by the law....
The high court will likely release some response on the case in the coming months, but it might avoid a decision for the time being by referring the matter to the EU’s Court of Justice in Luxemburg. Should they take this route, a final decision could be delayed by more than a year.