Netherlands: Dutch MPs Effectively Ban Ritual Slaughter of Animals.

BBC News – Dutch MPs effectively ban ritual slaughter of animals

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13947163

28 June 2011 Last updated at 17:58

Dutch MPs effectively ban ritual slaughter of animals

The Dutch lower house of parliament has passed a law effectively banning the
ritual slaughter of animals, in a move condemned by Muslim and Jewish
groups.

The legislation states that all animals must be stunned before being killed.

But the Islamic dhabiha and Jewish shechita methods of ritual slaughter
require them to be fully conscious.

The legislation was proposed by an animal rights party with two MPs, which
argued that failing to stun the animals subjected them to unnecessary pain.

But debate over the matter swiftly became a focus of animosity towards the
Netherlands’ 1.2 million-strong Muslim community. The country’s Jewish
population is comparatively small at 50,000.

Following months of debate a last minute concession was offered – the Muslim
and Jewish communities will have a year to provide evidence that animals
slaughtered by traditional methods do not experience greater pain than those
that are stunned before they are killed.

However, observers say finding such proof will be virtually impossible.

The bill must still be approved by the upper house of parliament before it
can become law

Religious freedom

Before Tuesday’s vote, the head of the Party for the Animals, Marianne
Thieme, denied the bill was an attack on religious minorities.

She argued the law was necessary because scientists agreed that animals
suffered pain or fear if they were not stunned before slaughter, and because
current regulations allowed exceptions for ritual slaughter.

One of the first measures taken during the Occupation [by Nazi Germany
during World War II] was the closing of kosher abattoirs”

Binyomin Jacobs Dutch Chief Rabbi

“If you stun an animal before it’s been killed, the animal won’t experience
its own death,” she told the BBC World Service. “If you have new techniques
to ensure there’s no unnecessary suffering then you have to use it.”

“Three-thousand years ago, there were no anaesthetics,” she added. “But
since then we have developed more humane methods.”

In a rare show of unity, the Muslim and Jewish communities condemned the
legislation and said it infringed on their religious freedom.

“One of the first measures taken during the Occupation [by Nazi Germany
during World War II] was the closing of kosher abattoirs,” Dutch Chief Rabbi
Binyomin Jacobs told MPs during a debate in The Hague.

“If we no longer have people who can do ritual slaughter in the Netherlands,
we will stop eating meat,” he added.

The Party for the Animals said two million animals were subjected to ritual
slaughter every year in the Netherlands, although the organisation Halal
Correct said only 250,000 were killed without being stunned beforehand.

To make meat kosher for Jews or halal for Muslims, animals must be
slaughtered while still awake, by swiftly cutting the main arteries and
veins in their necks with sharp knives, and then allowing the blood to drain
out.

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