Kosher, Halal slaughter will continue in Netherlands after compromise; issue resurfaces in Poland

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

Radio Netherlands Worldwide and JTA, the Dutch Senate on Tuesday voted not to ratify a law that would have banned Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter. While the bill passed the House of Representatives in Parliament last year by a large majority (see prior posting), 51 out of 75 Senators voted against it after a compromise agreement was reached between the Deputy Minister of Agriculture on the one hand, and Jewish and Muslim groups on the other. The agreement (Radio Netherlands Worldwide and ) allows ritual slaughter without first stunning the animals to continue, but a veterinarian must be present during slaughter, and must anesthetize the animal if it is not unconscious within 40 second after slaughter. The protocol, which also contains other protective measures, will be overseen by a committee of scientists. Animal Rights Party leader Marianne Thieme remains unhappy with the compromise. 

Meanwhile, according to Polskie Radio today, in Poland, the country’s attorney general, Andrzej Seremet, has submitted an application to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal after a number of non-governmental organizations claimed that the Ministry of Agriculture had “exceeded its legal rights” in creating an exception for ritual slaughter from the requirement that animals be stunned before they are slaughtered. In May, Poland’s Agricultural Minister Marek Sawicki rejected demands of animal rights activists to end kosher and halal slaughter in Poland. (See prior posting.)