Animal Rights

Dutch May Outlaw Kosher and Halal Meat

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Holland, home to "about 40,000 Jews and one million Muslims," looks set to ban the practices of religious slaughter of animals that are of central importance to observant members of both faiths. From the National Post's Holy Post religion blog (honest to goodness motto: "get down on your knees and blog"):

The bill by the small Animal Rights Party united both Jews and Muslims in protest because it would ban kosher and halal slaughter, which requires animals be conscious when killed.

European Union regulations say animals must be stunned before slaughter to minimize pain, but allow exceptions for the ancient religious traditions behind kosher and halal laws.

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Dutch Jewish and Muslim leaders protested on Tuesday after the bill was passed by a wide margin of 116 votes to 30. The bill allows exceptions if religious leaders can prove that ritual slaughter is no more painful to animals than stunning.

But it was not clear how this could be proven, meaning it was unsure whether kosher and halal butchers could continue working in the Netherlands or not if the bill becomes law.

An American rabbi, Shmuel Herzfeld, reacts with charges of bigotry here.

Meanwhile, California is angering some residents of Chinese descent by considering a ban on shark fin soup, while China is angering some residents (presumably also of Chinese descent) by considering a ban on dog meat.

Baylen Linnekin is a lawyer and the executive director of Keep Food Legal, a nonprofit that promotes culinary freedom, the idea that people should be free to make and consume whatever commestibles they prefer. For more information and to join or donate, go here now.