European Jewish groups vow to fight Dutch ritual slaughter ban
Two leading Jewish organizations in Europe vowed on Wednesday to fight a looming ban on ritual animal slaughter in the Netherlands approved by the lower house of the Dutch parliament in a bid to protect animal rights.
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) announced it was considering taking legal action to block the ban, which it said violated the freedom of religion enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights.
The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) appealed to the Dutch Senate, which must approve the bill before it can become law, to block the ban that the lower house approved on Tuesday.
The bill by the small Animal Rights Party united both Jews and Muslims in protest because it would ban kosher and halal slaughter, which requires animals be conscious when killed.
European Union regulations say animals must be stunned before slaughter to minimize pain, but allow exceptions for the ancient religious traditions behind kosher and halal laws.
Animal Rights Party leader Marianne Thieme said she would also lobby Senate members. “I’m completely confident that I can remove any concerns that still exist,” she told the daily De Telegraaf. “This is absolutely not a religious issue.”