Ritual slaughter 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
THE HAGUE – Hundreds of Jews and Muslims pleaded with Dutch senators in
Amsterdam this week to reject legislation banning ritual slaughter.
Dutch Senate is scheduled to vote on the issue next week.
Dutch rabbi told The Jerusalem Post
that a ban would apply “double standards
that target minorities.”
The parliament voted in June to effectively ban
Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter. For this to become a law, however, the
Senate must ratify the bill introduced by the Party for Animals. The bill
forbids any slaughter that isn’t preceded by stunning, calling it
Both Islamic and Jewish law requires that animals be conscious
“It’s very clear that [the] Senate is much more
skeptical than parliament of this bill’s merits,” Raphael Evers, rabbi of the
Federation of Jewish Communities in The Netherlands, said after attending a
conference in Amsterdam on Sunday.
Some 600 people were at the gathering
– mostly of Muslim or Jewish origins – including two Dutch senators who
participated in a panel discussion.
In parliament, the anti-Muslim Party
for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, and the ruling VVD party supported the
However, VVD senators said they would vote against the proposed
legislation, making its passing dependent on the Labor Party’s vote. Labor has
not announced its position ahead of a Senate discussion scheduled for December
“The argument for infringing on our freedom of worship is moral, yet
this moral is only applied to Jews and Muslims,” Lucien Nix, a lawyer from
Amsterdam and member of Labor said at the meeting on Sunday.
commenting on figures presented to the parliament in June, which show that out
of 500 million animals slaughtered non-ritually each year in Holland, five
million suffer “abuse.” This figure is five times higher than the annual total
of animals that undergo ritual slaughter.
Turning to the two senators
present, Nix asked: “If animal welfare is so important, why do our legislators
tolerate this ‘abuse’? The bill is judicially untenable.”
Schlingmann, spokeswoman for the Party for Animals, declined to comment on
Gerrit Terpstra, a senator for the Christian-Democratic Appeal who
attended the conference, said his party – a coalition partner – would oppose the
bill. The other senator in attendance, Labor’s Nico Schrijver, told the Post his
party would need to “thoroughly consider the issue” before taking a
“We are sensitive to civil and minority rights, but slaughter must
conform to 21st-century standards,” he added.
Ritual slaughter is
currently banned in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.
Switzerland permits it for poultry.
Prof. Afshin Ellian, an Iranian- born
professor of law from Leiden University, called the bill “nonsensical and
non-liberal” but judicially tenable.
“There are European precedents and
grounds to restrict freedom of worship in favor of animal welfare,” he
“But is [stunning with a] bolt through the brain better than a slit
throat?” Focusing on the cup half full at the conference in Amsterdam, Sami
Kaspi – a Morocco-born Jew – thanked the Party for Animals for “uniting Dutch
Jews and Muslims in solidarity for a shared cause.”