Belgium bans halal and kosher slaughter methods



Belgium bans halal and kosher slaughter methods that kill animals without first being knocked out

  • Flanders, in northern Belgium, bans halal and kosher slaughter without stunning
  • Animals must now be stunned before being slaughtered in a religious ritual
  • Jewish and Muslim groups say it violates EU law on religious freedom










A Belgian region has banned halal and kosher slaughter unless the animal is stunned before being killed, despite critics claiming it violates religious freedom.

The northern region of Flanders is the first in Belgium to apply the ban, followed by the southern region of Wallonia in September.

When proposed, the law was called “the biggest attack on Jewish religious rights since the Nazi occupation” by the European Jewish Congress.

Prohibition: halal and kosher slaughter without prior stunning of the animal is now prohibited in Flanders in Belgium, followed by Wallonia in September (archive photo)

Halal Muslim and Kosher Jewish rituals require butchers to slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood.

Under the new law, animals will have to be electrically stunned before they are killed, which most animal rights activists say is more humane than halal and kosher rituals.

The Muslim and Jewish communities in Belgium have voiced their opposition to the law, saying halal and kosher require the animal to be “perfectly healthy” when its throat is slit – which would initially rule out stunning l ‘animal.

Some say the ban is less about animal rights and more about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Ritual: According to the rules of halal and kosher meat, the butcher must slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood (archive photo)

Ritual: According to the rules of halal and kosher meat, the butcher must slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood (archive photo)

“It is impossible to know the real intentions of the people,” said Rabbi Yaakov David Schmahl, a rabbi from Antwerp, the capital of Flanders. New York Times.

“Unless people clearly say what’s on their mind, but most anti-Semites don’t.

“It certainly brings to mind similar situations before World War II, when these laws were introduced in Germany,” he said.

In January 2018, several religious organizations filed lawsuits to stop the new legislation, including one jointly filed by the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations, the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.

The European Court of Human Rights has previously described kosher slaughter as “an essential aspect of the practice of the Jewish religion”, their lawsuit notes

They hope the lawsuits will see the ban, which they say violates religious freedom under EU law, lifted later this year.

Several countries, including Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand, already ban slaughter without stunning.

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