Jews, Muslims Agree On Ritual Slaughter Reform
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Holland’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker signed an agreement with religious leaders yesterday, including the leaders of the Dutch Jewish community, to reform ritual slaughter.
The move comes after a ban on all ritual slaughter was narrowly averted last year.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, the new agreement states that "animals have to be unconscious 40 seconds after a cut to the neck has been performed. If that is not the case, the animal must be stunned."
The agreement also requires that the cut made by a ritual slaughterer "must be done with one fluid uninterrupted movement" rather than by using hacking or thrusting motions.
The agreement covers both halal and shechita, kosher slaughter, and went in force today.
Blecker said the agreement was "a good balance ... between religious freedom and the improvement of the welfare of animals,” the AFP reported.
A scientific advisory committee has been put in place to answer questions about the agreement.
Dutch law requires stunning of animals immediately before slaughter. However, the law contains an exception for halal and kosher slaughter.
Animal welfare groups and many politicians objected to the exception because of what they – and a number of large animal veterinarians and biologists – saw as inhumane slaughter protected under the guise of religion.
Humane slaughter experts worked with some of the slaughterers from both religions to improve compliance with humane slaughter law while still staying within the confines of each religions laws. But resistence from other slaughterers and religious leaders – including Shechita UK and haredi groups – meant any improvement would be limited.
But Dutch lawmakers' attempt to ban all ritual slaughter helped convince religious leaders to reach the agreement with the government.