Belgium bans halal kosher animal slaughtering practices

Kosher and halal meat is served in takeaways shops and restaurants across Europe

Kosher and halal meat is served in takeaways shops and restaurants across Europe

Belgium has banned halal and kosher animal slaughtering practices due to concerns about animal welfare, Samaa TV reports.

Most European countries offer religious waivers that allow for the production of halal and kosher meat, although EU regulations state animals must be rendered insensible before being slaughtered so they can not feel pain.

In Europe, it is law that animals are insensible to pain before being killed.

Shadjareh argues that what authorities call "humane stunning" involves an electric shock or a metal rod being fired into the animal's brain - hardly humane.

In Flanders, animals now have to be stunned electronically before they are killed - a law that will also be introduced in the southern French-speaking Wallonia region in September.

Most countries in the European Union allow religious exceptions to the stunning requirement but Belgium is joining Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Slovenia as one of the nations that does not provide for any exceptions. "Well, I'm sorry, in Belgium the law is above religion and that will stay like that".

Belgium, with a population of about 11 million, is home to roughly 500,000 Muslims and more than 30,000 Jews.

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But the change has sparked a furious response from religious leaders.

"The government asked for our advice on the ban, we responded negatively, but the advice wasn't taken", said Saatci Bayram, a leader of the Muslim community.

This has led to several lawsuits being filed by Jewish and Muslim leaders in the country stating the ban amounts to religious discrimination.

"This ban is presented as a revelation by animal rights activists, but the debate on animal welfare in Islam has been going on for 1,500 years. Our way of ritual slaughtering is painless".

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, even claimed the ban is proof "radical Islam has won".

The northern Flanders region finally imposed the law on New Year's Day after passing the measure back in July 2017, having faced significant objections. Many animal advocates and right-wing nationalists had advocated for this ban.

Animal groups applauded the legislation. Most other European countries have religious exceptions to the humane slaughter regulations.

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