Home » Dutch Vote To Ban Ritual Animal Slaughter, Muslims Unite In Protest

Dutch Vote To Ban Ritual Animal Slaughter, Muslims Unite In Protest

News From : DagangHalal.com (30 Jun 2011)

The Dutch parliament voted on Tuesday to ban ritual slaughter of animals, a move strongly opposed by the country’s Muslim minorities, but left a loophole that might let religious butchering continue. The bill by the small Animal Rights Party, the first such group in Europe to win seats in a national parliament, passed the lower house of parliament by 116 votes to 30. It must be approved by the upper house before becoming law. It stipulates that livestock must be stunned before being slaughtered, contrary to the Muslim halal laws that require animals to be fully conscious.

“This way of killing causes unnecessary pain to animals. Religious freedom cannot be unlimited,” said Marianne Thieme, head of the Animal Rights Party, said before the vote. “For us religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.”

In a rare show of unity, the Netherlands’ Muslim communities – numbering about 40,000 respectively in a total population of 16 million – have condemned the proposed ban as a violation of their religious freedom.

Uca Octay of Rotterdam’s Islamic University said: “We will have to import halal meat from neighboring countries or find another way to meet the needs of the Muslim population. Becoming vegetarian could be an option as well.”

The law said religious groups could continue ritual slaughter if they proved it was no more painful than stunning, but it was not clear how to do this.

An Halal butcher shop in Paris during Ramadan – Jacky Naegelen

“Holland is a sophisticated country and other countries look to Holland as an example, and we are afraid of the domino affect, that other countries will follow. This is the reason so many countries are watching the Netherlands today, ” he said.

Dutch Muslims, mostly of Turkish and Moroccan origin, have complained they felt stigmatized by the planned ban, debated amid growing support for anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders. A court cleared Wilders last week of charges of hate speech against Muslims. His Freedom Party has supported the ban.

“There was no reason for passing this law,” said Imam Mahmut of the El Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam. “This is a political decision. Who has the authority to determine whether the way of killing animals is good or not? Their way of killing the animal is not good either. The killing takes longer and the animal suffers more.” He said Muslims in the Netherlands will turn to imported meat now. “It shouldn’t be the problem. The meat can be imported to the Netherlands from neighboring countries,” he said.

European Union regulations require animals to be stunned before killing but allow exceptions for ritual slaughter, which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled is a religious right. Animal rights activists insisit this is inhuman. Carmel said the European Parliament last week rejected a bid by animal rights advocates to have halal meat specially labeled as coming from unstunned animals.

Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland ban ritual slaughter. Swiss animal rights groups and far-right politicians have called for a ban on imported halal meat.

Of the 500 million animals slaughtered annually for food in the Netherlands, only 1.2 million animals are slaughtered according to Muslim traditions, Dutch statistics show.

Edited from: Reuters by Ivana Secularac, with Roberta Cowan.

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