Dutch bans non-stun slaughter

The Dutch parliament has gone ahead with a controversial bill outlawing slaughter where the animal has not been stunned first, removing the exemption which has allowed religious groups to butcher according to their traditions.

The move has been condemned by members of both the Islamic and Jewish communities.

Imam Mahmut of the El Tawheed mosque told Reuters: “There was no reason for passing this law. This is a political decision. Who has the authority to determine whether the way of killing animals is good or not?”

The European Jewish Congress has previously accused the Dutch that the ban is “a slippery slope to populism, extremism and anti-Semitism”.

However, the ban has been welcomed by animal rights group. Eurogroup for Animals said that the new law was not directed against religious slaughter but saw it as an opportunity for religious groups to explore the boundaries of what their faiths allow and to implement new, innovative animal welfare-friendly methods. It said it was concerned that the amount of meat coming from animals without pre-stunning was much higher than the amount required to meet the needs of the religious communities in the EU.

Dr Michel Courat, farm animal policy officer at Eurogroup for Animals, said: “This is a major step forward for animal welfare and we urge all of the 26 other European Union member states to follow the example of the Dutch government. It willbe possible for religious groups to get an exemption, but only when they provide indisputable proof that their alternative method will not cause more harm to animal welfare than pre-slaughter stunning.”

Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, visited the Netherlands two weeks ago to discuss the matter with the President of the House of Representatives and Members of the Committee on Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.

The bill still has to pass the Senate, which is unlikely to happen before the summer recess. It has been said that the law may prove unenforceable due to an ambiguous last-minute amendment.

Sweden, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand have all banned non-stun slaughter.

>Holland moves to ban non-stun ritual slaughter