After protests by Jewish and Muslim groups, the Dutch Parliament's Upper House (the Senate, pictured) has voted not to ban ritually slaughtered meat.
A bill calling for the prohibition on ritual slaughter -- if carried out without stunning the animal first -- had been introduced by the Party for Animals.
Jewish Kosher rules stipulate that animals cannot be stunned before being slaughtered. Though Islamic Law does not frobid stunning in principle, some Muslim groups in Europe are suspicious that stunning methods can frquently lead to the death of an animal before ritual slaughter can be carried out.
A year ago, the lower house of parliament passed the bill prohibiting slaughter without stunning, but leaving a loophole saying religious groups could continue ritual slaughter if they proved it was no more painful than other methods of slaughter.
Now the Dutch government has agreed with Jewish and Muslim leaders that ritual slaughter can continue, without stunning, but with the condition that the animals are required to lose consciousness within 40 seconds of being slaughtered.
Jewish and Muslim community leaders say they are satisfied with this decision.
Muslim spokesman Mohammed Cheppih said the fact that the ban was passed a year ago by the lower house showed that there was a climate of hostility toward Muslims.
Jews also felt victimized by the proposed ban on slaughtering animals for meat without the use of stunning. Dutch chief rabbi, Binyomin Jacobs, said that even discussing the issue "is very painful for the Jewish community," because ritual slaughter was banned in several European countries by the Nazi regime.
European Union regulations require animals to be stunned before slaughter but allow exceptions for ritual slaughter, which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled is a religious right.
Ivana Sekularac, "Dutch upper house rejects ban on ritual slaughter" Halal Focus June 30, 2012
"Jews and Muslims unite to defend circumcision and ritual slaughter customs" People of Shambhala July 1, 2012
"Dutch Not to Ban Halal and Kosher Meat" MPAC UK June 30, 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today