The Dutch parliament on Tuesday voted to ban ritual slaughter in landmark animal rights legislation that has been compared to Nazi persecution of the Jews by the country’s Chief Rabbi.
In a rare show of unity, representatives of one million Dutch Muslims and 40,000 Jews have condemned the prohibition of halal and kosher meat as a violation of their religious freedom.
The legislation was tabled by the tiny Animal Rights Party but it quickly won cross-party support in a country where traditional religion, especially Islam, has been accused of being out of step with liberal Dutch values.
“This way of killing causes unnecessary pain to animals. Religious freedom cannot be unlimited,” said Marianne Thieme, the party’s leader.
“For us religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.”
The new ban requires that livestock must be stunned before being killed, contrary to the Muslim and Jewish “ritual slaughter” customs that require animals to be fully conscious.