Netherlands to pass law ending religious slaughter of animals

Posted on 22 June 2011

“The Dutch parliament is on the point of passing a law that would end the slaughter of animals by ritual religious methods before they had been stunned or anaesthetised.

Both Jewish and Muslim proponents of halal and kosher meat say that religious rules do not permit the animals to be unconscious when they are killed.

The proposal originated with the Netherlands’ Party for the Animals, whose 2 seats in parliament make it the world’s only animal rights party with representatives in a national legislature. Marianne Thieme, its charismatic young leader, says religious leaders who object to the law are trying to hold back history.

“Here in our society we no longer accept that animals must suffer,” says Ms Thieme. Religious groups have often opposed progressive social change, she adds. “We saw the same thing with women’s rights.”

For some, the argument is a scientific one. Many veterinarians believe animals suffer more during unstunned slaughter and remain conscious for up to a few minutes longer while dying. Ms Thieme says religious-liberty rights do not extend to harming other people or animals. Most in parliament back that view. A government-commissioned report by the University of Wageningen cited the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe and humane-slaughter expert Temple Grandin in support of the ban.

The fury of the religious lobby is acknowledged by Marianne Thieme. She said: “I understand that the emotions run high,” says Ms Thieme, “because you think that your religious community has been doing things the best possible way for thousands of years, and it’s painful to be confronted with scientific facts that show otherwise.”

Source: National Secular Society

“religious-liberty rights do not extend to harming other people or animals” – I wish the same could be said about ritual slaughter laws in South Africa …


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