EU Court Backs Ban on Halal and Kosher Slaughter Practices

THE EUROPEAN Court of Justice has backed a Belgian bill to ban the slaughter of animals without prior stunning, which has sparked a backlash from parts of Europe’s Jewish and Muslim communities.

Under Muslim Halal and Jewish Schechita (kosher) laws, animals must have their throats slit while conscious in order to be later consumed by religious followers.

A Belgian law to ban this practice has now been backed by Europe’s highest court, in a move that could pave the way for other European nations to follow suit. The European court said that the law allowed a “fair balance to be struck” between animal rights and religious freedoms, which Jewish and Muslim groups have decried.

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldsmith was quoted by the BBC as saying the new law “goes even further than expected” and goes against recent EU statement promising that the “Jewish life is to be treasured and respected”.

Previously, under both EU and UK laws, animals must be stunned before slaughter with the exception of religious practices. The EU claimed that Belgium reached the conclusions that formed their new law based on scientific evidence regarding the suffering of animals before slaughter.

The animal rights group Gaia said that the law against halal and kosher was a milestone for livestock welfare, and that the law was the product of two and a half decades of campaigning.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...