For the publisher:
D “Balancing animal welfare and religious rites” (editorial, January 9):
The The Belgian Council for Animal Welfare has reviewed international research on the subject of animal slaughter. The result is remarkable: For sheep, it takes 14 seconds to 5 minutes before spontaneous brain activity stops. For cattle, it takes between 19 seconds and 11 minutes. Several audits of Belgian slaughterhouses have shown that the ritually killed animals were still conscious for up to several minutes.
There are two options for politicians: ignore or act. I chose to act and submitted a bill that led to the ban on slaughter without stunning. All members of parliament (except one who abstained) voted for the ban, including left-wing and Islamic politicians. beliefs.
The Belgian law is not inspired by anti-Semitic feelings or hatred towards Muslims. On the contrary, the government has funded research to refine the halal stunning method which is already used in Islamic countries.
Religious freedom is an important value of the Enlightenment. But he cannot be a free guide to animal suffering.
The writer is a member of the Belgian Parliament.
For the publisher:
To thank you for your very measured treatment of the disagreement between animal welfare advocates and adherents to the kosher and halal slaughter rules. Proponents of animal welfare want animals to be stunned before they are slaughtered, while religious followers refer to religious texts dictating that only conscious animals should be slaughtered.
Judaism and Islam have strong traditions and canonical texts that support animal welfare, and so it is difficult to understand this legitimate disagreement.
The solution that enables reconciliation was discussed in The New York Times a few months ago: Growing meat directly from cells requires no slaughter (“Pursuing a Once-Impossible Goal: Kosher Bacon”, Business Day, October 1st).
This cell-based meat, grown in clean facilities and with significantly lower environmental effects and no animal suffering, is being developed by companies from Silicon Valley to the Netherlands to Israel.
In addition to continuing to pass laws that protect farm animals from cruel treatment, the federal government should invest financial resources to bring this meat to market without slaughter as quickly as possible.
The writer is executive director of the Good Food Institute.