Flanders bans halal and kosher animal slaughter methods, Evangelical Focus


The slaughter of animals without prior stunning was banned in the Flanders region of northern Belgium on January 1.

Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, is preparing to ban in September. On the other hand, Brussels is the only region that has not adopted the controversial measure.

The regional parliament unanimously voted to ban the ritual practices that Islam and Judaism have long used in June 2017.

Belgium is home to approximately 500,000 Muslims and over 30,000 Jews, who fear the ban could lead to higher prices and possible food shortages.

A LAW AGAINST THE HALAL AND KOSHER RITUALS

The move, initiated by the Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works, Tourism and Animal Welfare, Ben Weyts, sparked a furious outcry from religious groups, claiming it is motivated by Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

Under the law, animals must be electrically stunned before being killed, which most animal rights activists consider more humane than Islamic halal and Jewish kosher rituals.

However, both the Halal Muslim and Kosher Jewish rituals require animals to be healthy and conscious, and that the butchers slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood.

“A SAD DAY FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN EUROPE”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, criticized the decision because “a sad day for the Jews of Europe, a sad day for religious freedom in Europe. Radical Islam won ”.

“This ban is touted as a revelation by animal rights activists, but the animal welfare debate in Islam has been going on for 1,500 years. Our way of ritually slaughtering is painless“, he added.

The law has been called “biggest attack on Jewish religious rights in Belgium since the Nazi occupation ”by the European Jewish Congress in May 2017.

“CONTINUE LIVING IN THE MIDDLE AGES”

“To cut the throat of a living animal is to make it suffer. There are people who want to continue living in the Middle AgesSaid Ann de Greef, director of the GAIA animal association, involved in the negotiations.

The Federation of European Veterinarians sees unacceptable slaughter without stunning, due to the stress generated by the process for the animal, and the risk of prolonging its agony for several minutes until it finally loses consciousness.

THE EU ALLOWS EACH STATE TO DECIDE

The The European directive allows each state to decide if the religious rituals of sacrifice are exempted from respecting the precept of the preliminary stunning of the animal, obligatory for the rest.

Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, Norway and Iceland already ban ritual slaughter. There is now a debate in Finland and Poland banned it, but in 2014 the court declared the decision unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, in Germany and the Netherlands, religious slaughter methods are generally prohibited, although exceptions can be made.

In Austria, it is only allowed in specially approved slaughterhouses, in the presence of a veterinarian.

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