Belgium: Bans on Halal and Kosher slaughter spark outrage
By: Katie Harris
Source: Sunday Express
Animal slaughter without pre-stunning was banned in the region of Flanders, in the north of Belgium, on January 1. And Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, is set to introduce a ban in September.
Brussels is the only region which has not adopted the controversial measure.
Under the new law animals must be stunned before being slaughtered, which animal rights campaigners argue is more humane.
However, traditional halal and kosher rituals involve cutting the animals throat without stunning the animal first.
Halal and kosher meat will continue be sold in shops but it must be sourced from elsewhere.
The move – initiated by right-wing nationalist Ben Weyts – has prompted a furious outcry from religious groups, with claims it is motivated by Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
Muslim leader Saatci Bayram told The New York Times: “The government asked for our advice on the ban, we responded negatively, but the advice wasn’t taken.
“This ban is presented as a revelation by animal rights activists, but the debate on animal welfare in Islam has been going on for 1,500 years. Our way of ritual slaughtering is painless.”
Yaakov David Schmahl, a senior rabbi in Antwerp, added: “It is impossible to know the true intentions of people.
“Unless people state clearly what they have in mind, but most anti-Semites don’t do that.
“It definitely brings to mind similar situations before the Second World War, when these laws were introduced in Germany.”
In the UK, all animals must be stunned before being slaughtered unless an animal is being religiously slaughtered for halal or kosher meat.
The slaughter must take place in a slaughterhouse approved by the Food Standards Agency.
But the RSPCA recommends that animals are stunned first.
The charity’s website says: “We’re opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first ensuring it is rendered insensible to pain and distress.
“We therefore believe that all animals should be stunned prior to slaughter. Evidence clearly indicates that slaughter without pre-stunning can cause unnecessary suffering.”
Countries including New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden have already banned slaughter without pre-stunning.