Friday, July 25, 2014


Features

Dutch Move To Ban Kosher, Halal Slaughter

A butcher talks on his mobile phone outside a halal butcher shop in Amsterdam.
A butcher talks on his mobile phone outside a halal butcher shop in Amsterdam.
By Farangis Najibullah
Should animal rights trump religious freedom? Muslim and Jewish religious communities in the Netherlands are about to find out. 
 
In an unusual show of unity, the two communities are condemning the Dutch parliament’s initial approval this week of a bill banning the ritual slaughter of livestock.
 
The looming ban stipulates that animals should be stunned before being slaughtered. Such a method, however, contradicts Jewish and Muslim slaughter rituals that require an animal to be conscious at the time of death.
 
Supporters of the ban insist it is aimed at minimizing unnecessary pain and suffering by animals. Many Dutch Jews and Muslims, however, argue it would marginalize religious minorities.
 
The Netherlands, a nation of 16 million people, is home to more than 1 million Muslims and a 50,000-strong Jewish community.
 
Kosher And Halal
 
To make meat kosher or halal – according to Jewish and Muslim customs  – an animal has to be killed by swiftly cutting its neck arteries and veins using a razor-sharp knife. 
 
Under the bill, which still requires approval by the Dutch Senate to become law, religious groups would be allowed to get an exception from the ban if they can scientifically prove their slaughter methods are less painful to animals than preliminary stunning.
 
Two leading Jewish groups in Europe – the European Jewish Congress (EJC) and the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) – have announced they will seek to block the ban.
 
The EJC said it will take legal action to argue that the “discriminatory law” violates freedom of religion. The CER has appealed to the Dutch Senate to reject the bill.
 
“The practical effects of this bill mean that Jews are no longer welcome in the Netherlands. This has not happened for 60 years,” CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt told Dutch media. 
 
Some Jewish community leaders in the Netherlands likened the ban to Nazi Germany’s closure of kosher abattoirs during World War II.
 
Anti-Muslim Sentiments
 
Similarly, many Dutch Muslims have condemned the bill as an attack on their religious customs.
 
The parliament’s initial vote for the ban comes only days after a court in Amsterdam acquitted far-right politician Geert Wilders on charges of inciting hate and discrimination against Muslims.
 
Wilders is known for his statements attacking Islam and portraying Muslim immigrants as a threat to Dutch culture. 
 
“Many Muslims and non-Muslims in the Netherlands believe that the ban on the ritual slaughter of animals targets Muslims, and in fact it reflects the rising anti-Muslim sentiments here,” says Touraj Atabaki, an Iranian-Dutch professor at the University of Amsterdam.
 
 “The target is probably the Muslim community, whose number has been on a constant rise in European countries in recent years," Atabaki says. "They have maintained their Islamic values, including dress codes. And they usually keep their distance from the rest of society and live inside their so-called colonies.
 
"It bothers far-right politicians, who try to increasingly pressurize Islamic groups and Islamic societies, as we've recently seen in France and Austria.”
 
'It's Only About Animal Welfare'

Those behind the bill are adamant that their campaign has no other agenda or intention than protecting the welfare of animals.
 
Marianne Thieme, a Dutch lawmaker and leader of the Party of the Animals, says her party has been trying to win approval for the bill since 2008. 
 
“In our country, animal welfare is such a big issue that we think freedom of religion ends where human or animal suffering begins,” Thieme told RFE/RL. “If freedom of religion causes harm to anybody, human, or animal, then freedom of religion must be restricted.”
 
According to Thieme, apart from Muslim and Jewish specialty butchers, “nobody else” in the Netherlands slaughter animals without stunning them first.
 
Thieme says animal welfare issues “are being taken seriously by more and more people.”  
 
Polls indicate the proposed ban enjoys majority public support in the country.
 
The religious slaughter of livestock has so far been banned in Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Turkey is the first predominantly Muslim country where such a ban is being discussed in political circles.
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Turk
June 30, 2011 16:14
Where did author found this qoutation "Turkey is the first predominantly Muslim country where such a ban is being discussed in political circles" , I never heard any such discussion taking place in my country. very surprising, but missleading
In Response

by: John from: vladivostok
July 02, 2011 09:29
And what political circle are you a member of that you would know what is discussed in every other political circle?

by: Ben
June 30, 2011 16:16
we must say to the antisemites: Stop the cruel forms of killing animals like slow killing gooses for their liver, stop cutting live animals to pieces and fish during frying first! Verify your methods of dumbing animals,including small animals first before blaming Jews!
This antisemitic well produced performance won`t do!

by: Someone
July 01, 2011 02:43
Muslims are in better position than Jews because Muslims are allowed to eat meat which is Kosher ...

by: StFrancis from: USA
July 01, 2011 03:57
When will people in the US and other countries get the courage to speak for other living beings' suffering, following in the lead of people of Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and now the Netherlands? Actually, even from the religious point of view (6th commandment: Thou shall not "kill"), it does not make sense to "kill" animals, especially in a painful way!

by: Timmy from: France
July 02, 2011 07:30
Animals grown in monster-sized industrial farms live in their own shit and are fed enough antibiotics to evolve bacteria that have multiple drug resistance which endanger our entire health care system.
They don't care what's humane; only what makes money.
Zapping a cow before killing it makes it easy and fast to slaughter, and is certainly more humane than a botched kosher slaughter. But it isn't more humane than a properly-done kosher slaughter. 'Proper' doesn't only mean consistent with Jewish law, but also with an inteligent application of it to modern circumstances,
Temple Grandin has a lot of research on this, and has advised a number of abattoirs on how to clean up their system for humaneness of processes.
http://www.grandin.com/ritual/rec.ritual.slaughter.html

by: Terence from: Cambridge
July 04, 2011 10:57
Discrimination is absolutely required; Kosher and Halal are not the same.
Quality meat has to be properly drained of blood which requires a respect
for all traditional european practices, not an unrealistic vegan world view point or the mega-bucks-marketing of liquid meat.
Sincerely, Terence




by: san from: cananda
July 05, 2011 21:49
who are we to say that our treatment of animals is better!,
Our "beef" "chicken" as well "pork", barely see the light of day, have horrific unnatural lives, are injected with toxic amounts of growth hormones and antibiotics. We can stand on our very shakey platform and yell out that their treatment of animals is inhumane as much as we want but it wont make ours any better.Wake up! Our own homegrown meat industry, is horrifically corrupt and cruel! Across the pond and here in north america!

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