Dutch politician Geert Wilders 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters/Jerry Lampen)
THE HAGUE – The Dutch Senate froze its vote on banning ritual slaughter in the
Netherlands, eliciting “relief” from Jews and Muslims and frustration among the
right-wingers and animal rights activists promoting the ban. The vote,
originally scheduled for December 20, may be held in January.
last week in the Senate showed that in its current form, the bill to ban ritual
slaughter – which parliament passed in June – has no majority in the Upper
House. The casting vote belonged to Dutch Labor’s faction in the Senate, which
decided to reject the bill. Labor had supported the same bill in
All bills passed by parliament must be ratified by the Senate
to become law.
The bill requires animals be stunned before the slaughter,
rendering both kosher Shechita and Halal slaughter illegal. The bill was
submitted by the Party for Animals, which has two seats in parliament, and
supported by the anti-Muslim Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders – the
country’s third largest with 24 seats. Noting that senate members were not
elected but appointed, Geert Wilders reacted to the debate by saying the Senate
should be disbanded.
Before voting in January, the Senate will review a
compromise offer by Henk Bleker, state secretary for agriculture. He proposed to
limit the time during which a conscious animal is allowed to die. If still alive
after that period, stunning would be applied to the animal.
he would submit a more detailed proposal in written form in the very near
future, but the leader of the Party for Animals, Marianne Thieme, rejected his
offer and announced plans to submit a second bill on slaughter to
The Jewish-Moroccan Network – an organization which
represents officials and members of both communities – said it was “pleased and
relieved” with regards to the positions of most Senate
International Jewish organizations also reacted
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said “This
is good news, and we hope that an acceptable arrangement can be
Approximately one million animals undergo ritual slaughter in the
Netherlands every year. A few thousands of those undergo Shechita.