Observant Jews in Holland will have to give up eating meat if animals are stunned

JEWISH and Muslim groups in Holland have kicked off over plans proposed to stun animals before they are ritually slaughtered.

Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs said:

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

And Yusuf Altuntas, President of the CMO – an organisation that links the Muslim community with the Dutch government – told a parliamentary commission:

We are against any form of stunning because it’s against our religion.

Dutch law required animals to be stunned before being slaughtered but made an exception for ritual halal and kosher slaughters.

The country’s Party for Animals (PvdD) which holds two seats in the 150-seat Dutch parliament, has submitted a proposal, if implemented, that would see this exception abolished.

Dutch media widely reported that the PvdD’s proposal was expected to get a majority nod from parliamentarians, but a time-frame was not given.

Esther Ouwehand, a PvdD parliamentarian said:

The animals suffer more and are more distressed if they are not stunned. By getting this modification in the law, we hope to inspire other countries. She pointed out that in Norway and Sweden these measures had already been taken.

More than two million animals – mainly sheep and chickens – are ritually slaughtered every year in the Netherlands.

Jewish and Muslim representatives insist  that ritual slaughter respected the animals’ welfare.

They did however offer to implement some measures which they said would ease the animals’ suffering, especially better controls in abattoirs where ritual slaughters were performed and an improvement in conditions under which animals were being transported.

In January, several organisations in France, among them the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, launched a an anti-ritual slaughter poster campaign.

Meanwhile, in the UK, a new association of non-stun Abattoir owners has been launched.

Speaking at the Paragon Hotel, Birmingham, Ghulam Mustaffa, of Premier Halal Meat, said:

This is good news for Muslim consumers, especially Muslim housewives. The ANSA logo will give them assurance that the meat they will be consuming is truly halal and is ritually halal slaughtered according to Islamic principles.

The association aims to increase the level of ritual slaughter in the UK. This, it says, will:

Open up the halal trade for export, further improving the British economy.

Speaking in support of a campaign by Scotland for Animals’ campaign against ritual slaughter, National Secular Society President Terry Sanderson said:

An exaggerated deference to religious sensibilities by the authorities [in the UK] permits the cruel practise of ritual slaughter to continue unchecked. The right of animals to be treated humanely, even in an abattoir, is overridden by quite unnecessary religious exemptions. It is time the Government looked again at the regulation of religious slaughter and brought it in line with the standards required by a compassionate society.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Birmingham report)