Ritual slaughter: animal suffering or religious freedom?

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

The Dutch Senate has rejected a ban on unanaesthetised ritual slaughter.  The bill proposed by  the Animal Rights Party would have made kosher and halal slaughter things of the past. The Senate decision overrules the vote in the Lower House, which had earlier passed the bill.


Jews and Muslims slaughter animals without anaesthetising them.  The Animal Rights Party fervently believes that animals should not have to endure what they call torture in order to accommodate religious beliefs. 

In unanaesthetised ritual slaughter, the arteries are cut open so that the animal bleeds to death.  According to veterinarians and scientists, this means that death is even more agonisingly painful and drawn out.  This, however, is disputed within the Jewish and Muslim communities.

"Ïf it wasn't good for the animals, then God would not have decreed that it should take place,"

says Muslim butcher Mohammed Arab.


This video was first published in April 2011.