Dutch Commission to Study New Rules for Ritual Slaughter

December 23, 2011  

The Dutch government will appoint a commission to study new tightened rules for ritual slaughter, the European Jewish Press reported on Thursday.

The commission will attempt to satisfy animal rights activists without infringing on Jewish and Muslim traditions.

The announcement came as the leader of the Dutch small Animal Rights Party, Marianne Thieme, decided to withdraw a bill calling for a ban of the practice of kosher slaughter without stunning.

Thieme pulled the bill a little over a week after a majority of members of the Dutch Senate, the upper house of the parliament, objected to such a ban because it violates freedom of religion.

In June, the Dutch parliament voted by a majority of 116 against 30 in favor of the legislation, but since that time several political parties have changed their stance on the matter, including the Socialist and Liberal parties which constitute the largest groups in the Senate.

The proposal for the bill claimed that there is evidence that the practice of kosher slaughtering causes animals unnecessary pain and suffering. The truth, however, is that Jewish slaughter does not cause suffering.

Dutch Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Environment Henk Bleker has presented a compromise proposal, which calls for agreements with slaughterhouses and the Islamic and Jewish communities over permissible slaughter practices.

EJP reported that Biker said the appointed commission will draw up standards on how long animals can remain conscious and on educating slaughterers. It will include registration and quality requirements for slaughterhouses.

Rabbi Arye Goldberg, Deputy Director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), an organization representing over 700 rabbis and Jewish communities throughout Europe, welcomed the Dutch decision to shelve the ban on kosher slaughter.

“This decision is a clear victory for common sense, tolerance and freedom of religion,” he told EJP. “We are grateful to those Dutch politicians who helped us defeat a very problematic bill that could have had a very significant effect on traditional Jewish life in the Netherlands.”

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