June 23, 2011
Dutch lawmakers offer compromise on kosher slaughter ban
The Dutch Parliament has offered a compromise on a bill that would ban kosher slaughter.
Under the compromise hammered out June 22, ritual slaughter will not be included in a bill that would ban the slaughter of animals in the Netherlands without first stunning them if it can be proved that the ritual method of slaughter does not cause additional suffering.
Under the laws of shechitah, or Jewish ritual slaughter, animals may not be rendered unconscious before slaughter. Muslim law has a similar proscription.
The compromise means that the Jewish and Muslim communities can “go and investigate what is possible instead of just telling them what they can’t do,” lawmaker Stientje van Veldhoven of the centrist D66 party said.
The Jewish community has rejected this line of reasoning, saying the ban and the new amendment demonstrate a lack of religious freedom for Dutch Jews. As many as 50,000 Jews and approximately 1 million Muslims are living in the Netherlands, according to reports.
The Dutch parliament will vote on the proposed ban, with the amendment, next week. If the legislation passes, it would make Holland the first European Union country to ban shechitah.
Shechitah is permissible under European law and to ban it goes against the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights, which clearly states that there is freedom of religious practice.
A controversial ban on kosher slaughter put in place by New Zealand’s agriculture minister was partially reversed last November amid allegations that the decision was taken to appease Muslim countries that have lucrative trade relations with New Zealand. The ban on kosher slaughter of poultry was suspended; the ban on beef remains.