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Halal and kosher slaughter banned in Belgian region

Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+

Last updated on 09-May-2017 at 15:11 GMT2017-05-09T15:11:29Z

The ban on halal and kosher slaughter could take effect in September 2019
The ban on halal and kosher slaughter could take effect in September 2019

A large region in Belgium has voted in favour of banning halal and kosher meat by outlawing the slaughter of unstunned animals.

The environment committee of Belgium’s French-speaking Walloon Parliament voted unanimously on Friday 5 May for the ban on halal and kosher meat. Now, the bill needs parliamentary approval to go through with a vote set for May. If this passes, halal and kosher slaughter will be phased out by 2019.

Further bans on halal and kosher slaughter could be rolled out across Belgium too, as the regional parliament in Flanders, Belgium, has also proposed a ban.

The controversial move has sparked a furious reaction from Muslim and Jewish groups, who claim the ban is an abuse of religious freedom.

Ban compared to Nazi occupation

European Jewish Congress (EJC) president Moshe Kantor called it “the greatest assault on Jewish religious rights in Belgium since the Nazi occupation of the country in World War II”.
Kantor said the ban “attacks the very core of our culture and religious practice and our status as equal citizens”.

The EJC said it would fight to ensure the ban in Belgium was overturned, claiming it was a flagrant abuse of the EU’s freedom of religion laws.

Meat industry remains silent

Religious slaughter and animal welfare are intrinsically linked issues that divide opinion.

Jewish kosher (shechita) and halal slaughter (dhabihah) rituals require a butcher to swiftly kill the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood. Both techniques have religious significance for Jewish and Muslim communities, but activists who claim the animal should be stunned, so it does not feel pain, have called the slaughter method inhumane.

However, the Department of Halal Certification claims stunning can be cruel and affects the draining of blood from a carcase, creating poor quality meat.

Belgium-based processor Derwa Meat operates a large halal division, but could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Well Said Chris

Absolutely beyond belief that this practice is allowed in any civilised country.

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Posted by Paul
12 May 2017 | 10h282017-05-12T10:28:31Z

Europe-Wide Ban Required

Well done Belgium - not before time. We are sick and tired of proclaimed "rites" from bygone eras which cause totally unnecessary pain and suffering on the unfortunate animals destined for kosher and halal slaughter. Total shame on everyone and every company involved - from birth of the animals to their death.

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Posted by Chris
09 May 2017 | 16h512017-05-09T16:51:03Z

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