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Belgium Bans Ritual Slaughter Methods

by | January 11, 2019

In a move that has Jewish and Muslim leaders up in arms, Belgium has officially banned the ritual slaughter of animals. The new ban, which went into effect on New Year’s Day, was promoted by animal advocates and right-wing nationalists was passed with ‘animal welfare’ in mind has some religious leaders crying discrimination.

Belgium Bans Ritual Slaughter Methods
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Belgium Bans Ritual Slaughter Methods

Laws across the European Union state the animals be rendered ‘insensible to pain’ before they are slaughtered. This can mean a ‘captive bolt’ is fired into a larger animals brain, and fowl are generally electrocuted.

Kosher and Halal slaughter traditions require that the animal be in perfect health when they are killed. Shechitah, the ritual Kosher method of slaughtering animals, requires that they be conscious when their throats are slit. Muslims slaughter animals in a similar manner to produce halal meat. These traditional, religious methods aren’t in compliance with the new law. Many European countries offer a religious exemption that allows for the traditional halal and Kosher methods of slaughtering animals for meat.

The move will likely force Jewish and Muslim communities to have to resort to importing meat from the Netherlands and Hungary, which will, in turn, be more expensive. Religious activists representing a moderate Jewish and large Muslim population have claimed that the halal and Kosher methods of ritual slaughter are more humane and less painful than the more widely practiced European methods.

Joos Roots, an attorney for Islamic institutions, told the Times that the ban is motivated by religious discrimination and not animal rights. Roots says that the Belgian government asked for their opinion on the ban and that their negative response was ignored.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the Europe Jewish Association, told i24 News, that will set a bad example for other countries — also saying that it casts a shadow on the Jewish community and laws.

What is your take on Belgium banning ritual slaughter? Comment below. 

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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