Belgium region's kosher slaughter ban goes into effect

The ban should serve as “a wake-up call” to Jewish communities across Europe to the necessity of building ties with national governments, a senior European rabbi said.

December 31, 2018 14:04
1 minute read.
A KOSHER slaughterhouse.

A KOSHER slaughterhouse.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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A ban on kosher slaughter by the Flanders region of Belgium will go into effect January 1, after legislation prohibiting animal slaughter without pre-stunning was passed in the region’s parliament in July 2017.

Slaughter according to Islamic law will also be banned under the new law.

The Wallonia region of southern Belgium passed legislation banning kosher slaughter in May 2017 that will go into effect in September 2019.

Jewish law requires that an animal be healthy and uninjured before slaughter, but pre-stunning injures the animal and therefore cannot be used.

“That provinces within Belgium, the law-making capital of Europe, have passed this type of anti-religious measure is an affront to the European values we all hold so dear,” said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis and Chief Rabbi of Moscow.

“Time and again, the Jewish community is told by senior EU officials that there is no Europe without the Jews, [but] these bans undermine those statements and put Jewish life at risk. We urge EU leaders to address this directly to the governments of member states. Words are weak when actions hurt. We will continue to make those points to officials when we bring together hundreds of rabbis for our biennial conference in Belgium this spring.”

Goldschmidt said the ban should serve as “a wake-up call” to Jewish communities across Europe to the necessity of building ties with national governments.

Animal slaughter without prior stunning has also been banned in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Slovenia and throughout much of Europe. Switzerland and Lichtenstein also require prior stunning except for poultry.

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