Jews argue against ritual slaughter ban

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Jewish ritual slaughter isn’t cruel, says the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism. Dutch MPs are soon to hold a second debate on a bill that would outlaw ritual slaughter in which animals have their throats cut without first being stunned. The proposal comes from animal rights party the Party for the Animals.

Jewish organisations are calling on MPs to vote against the private member’s bill. They say a ban on ritual slaughter would infringe on freedom of religion, and go against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Party for the Animals, which holds two seats in the 150-seat parliament, argues that the religious laws were made at a time when there were no acceptable means of stunning animals prior to slaughter.

According to Willem Koster of the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism, however, animals hardly know what’s happening to them if they’re killed according to Jewish ritual, known as shechita.

“The windpipe and blood vessels are cut through in one with a sharp knife. The blood pressure drops and the brain stops functioning. The animal is therefore sufficiently unconscious that it isn’t aware of the process.”

Ritual slaughter is more common in the Netherlands to provide halal meat for Muslims. According to estimates there are only around 100 Jews in the country who only eat ritually slaughtered meat.

But the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism says Jewish groups aren’t campaigning against the bill jointly with Muslim organisations “because we don’t know what their religious laws are”.

The coalition parties are against a ritual slaughter ban, but the bill has the backing of the opposition Socialist Party, Green Left and D66 parties. They are joined by the anti-Islam Freedom Party, on which the coalition relies for its majority. But as yet the bill is still opposed by a majority of MPs.



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