The Dutch government said Wednesday that it plans to limit Jewish and Muslim methods of slaughter through new measures, including supervision of the production of kosher and halal meat, and a ban on its export.
Agriculture Minister Martijn van Dam announced the plan in a letter to the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
JTA reported that production of kosher and halal meat will be subject to the discretion of officials from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. This bodes ill for the slaughterers, since the same authority urged the government last year to ban ritual slaughter altogether, claiming it was inhumane.
In slaughter without prior stunning, van Dam said, the authority “will permanently oversee the actual practice of the slaughter.”
The ban on exports is not particularly significant since Holland does not export significant amounts of kosher meat.
In late 2011, the upper house of the Dutch parliament rejected a proposed bill to ban Jewish kosher slaughter of animals on the ground that it violates freedom of religion.
Earlier that year, the Dutch parliament voted in favor of the legislation. The bill claimed that there is evidence that the practice of kosher slaughtering causes animals unnecessary pain and suffering. This claim is roundly denied by experts on Jewish slaughter.
Following this, the Dutch government reached an agreement with Jewish and Muslim leaders setting certain standards for ritual slaughter, including a 40-second limit on the time between stunning of the animals before their necks are cut. The sides also agreed to hold research-based consultations between government officials and religious community leaders on balancing animal welfare with religious freedoms.