Import ban: Animal protection or religious freedom?

sheep being slaughtered
Swiss compromise: a butcher slitting a sheep’s throat after it was stunned


In Switzerland, animal welfare groups are launching an initiative to ban the import of animal products obtained via cruel methods. Yet there’s a debate as to whether a ban should include kosher and halal meat.

Swiss animal protection laws forbid the production of products like foie gras and frog legs [see box below]. The fact that these items can be imported is both a contradiction and a thorn in the eye to animal rights activists.

After a motion for an import ban failed in parliament, animal welfare groups have turned to direct democracy in the form of a people’s initiative.

Snubbing Jews and Muslims?

Potentially volatile is the question of whether kosher and halal meat will fall under the ban. Killing a conscious animal by slitting its throat and letting it bleed to death has been banned in Switzerland since 1893. This butchering method is permitted only if the animal is anaesthetized beforehand.

“In principle, it is not clear why religion should override our law,” says Michael Gehrken of Alliance Animal Suisseexternal link. Yet just last December, Gehrken told that halal and kosher meat should be exempted from the planned import ban.

“Fundamental rights are guaranteed in Switzerland, notably religious freedom,” said Gehrken then.

The question of what’s more important – animal welfare or religious freedom – will likely be a central issue in the voting campaign. According to Switzerland’s historical lexiconexternal link, voters accepted the prohibition of kosher butchering at the end of the 19th century for anti-Semitic reasons. This could now be used as an argument against the current initiative.

Animal welfare groups are considering whether to launch the initiative in the form of a “general suggestion” – leaving it to the Swiss parliament to formulate the constitutional article and to name concrete products to ban. According to Gehrken, this procedure might take a little longer but has the advantage that conflicts would not have to be debated during the voting campaign.

Not allowed in Switzerland, but still eligible for import 

Eggs from battery hens: The laying hens live in cramped cages, which is forbidden in Switzerland.

Foie gras: Geese and ducks are force-fed via a metal tube several times a day in order to make their livers grow quickly. Poking the metal tube into the esophagus often results in injuries. In Switzerland, this procedure is expressly prohibited as animal cruelty.

Frog legs: Typically, the legs are sliced off live frogs, who suffer for hours before they die. Foreign methods of frog leg production are expressly prohibited in Switzerland.

Fur: On fur farms, mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and other animals are exposed to constant overstimulation in narrow cages with wire mesh floors and nowhere to retreat. Those animals that are hunted are usually caught with traps, often suffering severe injuries. Whether farmed or trapped, the methods of killing are cruel and forbidden in Switzerland.

Quail eggs: For the production of quail eggs, migratory birds, which normally live in small groups, are crammed into cramped battery cages. This form of animal husbandry is prohibited in Switzerland.

Other products being discussed: shark fins, seal babies, reptile skins, halal and kosher meat (unless animals are stunned first).


38 replies

  1. Of course we are all against animal cruelty. However, we do not need to ‘give in’ to irrational demands of the animal rights lobby, who actually want us all to become vegetarians or even vegans.

  2. Reblogged this on Progressive Islam. and commented:
    In Switzerland, animal welfare groups are launching an initiative to ban the import of animal products obtained via cruel methods. Yet there’s a debate as to whether a ban should include kosher and halal meat===

    I agree that Kosher and Halal meat should be banned. Why? Because that laws fit for people who live 20 century ago. Now-a-days, we live in Science and Technology. We need the law that fit for modren society.

    Shariah law at 15 Centuries ago should be updated / Reformed.

    Mr. Erdogan, President Turkey say;
    “Islam is needed an update and accordingly updated. You can’t apply the practices applied 15 centuries ago today. Islam changes and adopts to the condition of different ages. This is the beauty of Islam”. Islam is a religion of Progressive.

    “President Donald Trump vowed Wednesday morning that his administration will not support the repeal of the Second Amendment, a step former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens suggested Tuesday in a New York Times.”

    I agree SECOND AMENDMENT has to be fix or repeal it that fit to Modren Society as well Kodher and Halal meat have to be changed.

    Hopefully Ahmadiyyah agree with us.

    All ❤️

      • Somi: You are the kind of guy who likes arguing for the sake of arguing. Of course I am in favor of banning military style guns for crazy civilians and I do sympathize with the victims of mass killings everywhere. I was referring to your war on halal and kosher meat. You are the one who is mixing things up.

  3. Somi are you suggesting that Islam abandon the way of Halal cutting of the meat? How the meat is prayed on before it’s slaughtered and how the blood is allowed to be drained from the body of the animal before it can be cut , cooked and consumed.

  4. Rafiq— you agree to reform the second amendment. Because this law is out of date—200 years ago, do not fit in modren style of life—need to be reformed.

    In the same way why dont you agree to reform the old Islamic law 15 century ago relate to halal meat , halal drink?

    Nowadays, we live in modren society and technology.
    With technology we can know what good meat to eat and what good drinks we can drink. Right Rafiq?
    We do not need the advice of clerics anymore!

    What do you think?

    • Allah gave us the Qur’an for an everlasting favor on all mankind. Allah advised us not to eat pork. The pig is the filthiest animal, eating absolutely everything. The animals we eat are clean and eat only clean things. Can we now please stop talking about pigs. You are free to eat them if you like. I do not like to, both for reasons of trying to obey Allah and as I just do not feel like it.

  5. Rafiq— Do you admire Young girl from Pakistan MALALA who want to change the Islamic law relate to the right of girl to have good education as boy? Where Taliban forbid girl to get good education.

    Come on Rafiq

    • I am sorry, you are talking silly stuff again. The prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be on him – said that all Muslims, male and female, should seek education. The Khalifatul Masih says the same thing. Taliban may say whatever they like, but Islamic law is clear that all Muslims should seek education.

  6. Dear Rafiq—I strongly believe that if Ahmadiyyah ( you) become a leader as Governnor, you will ban all sects of Muslim who do not follow your belief. Very sad.

    • No worries, our Khalifa has stated again and again that he is not interested in political power. He is our spiritual and religious guide. Alhamdolillah.And if I was personally the Governor? I had for instance good relations and made friends with many Shias of Iraq. Nice people. And people who repeat themselves all the time? I probably will not have time to read it all…

  7. Please dont erase my comment for Rafiq. Thank you

    RAFIQ—come on you think you live at prophet Muhammad time 15 century ago, you live in Modern time now Rafiq. Dont you reliaze it? My dear Rafiq.

    Rafiq say: Allah gave us the Qur’an for an everlasting favor on all mankind. “==

    What are the difference between The extremist Isis, Taliban and Saudi Arabia and Ahmadiyyah?

    The extremist Muslim believe that God’s laws ( Al Quran and Hadith) will be followed for ever. As we saw in Iraq, Syria, Taliban ( afghanistan and Pakistan) such as;

    1. Promoting polygamy
    2. Implementing beheading, flogging, imputation, curcified at front of public.
    3. Implementing women slave
    4. Promoting unfair inherintace between girls and boys
    5. Promoting segregation between male and female
    6. Promoting Islamic Bank, halal meat or food.
    7. Promoting burqa or Hijab
    8. Promoting beard for male
    9. Promoting haram for women to be public leader.
    10. Promoting haram for male to shake hand with women
    11. Promoting haram for women to sing at TV or public place.
    12. Promoting haram to eat meat pork and drink alcohol even small quantity
    13. If Ahmadiyya promote Islamic Bank, Islamic food, Islamic Grocery, Islamic clothing, Islamic Restaurant, and why do Ahmadiyya REJECT Islamic state, syariah state like Saudi Arabia, Isis and Iran where al Quran snd Hadith as Goverment laws
    Why does Ahmadiyyah agree the secular democratic system ? It is really weird for me.

    Can you explain for us Rafiq? Thank you
    Al our love ❤️

    • MORE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS BELOW.Listen SOMI the difference between Ahmadiyya and all other sects a is that we are the sext promoting the true Islam that has been forgotten.We believe that the Messiah/Imam MAhdi/Maitreya Buddha and Kalki avatar have arrived in the personage of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(pbuh).Prophet MGA (pbuh) was the promised reformer for all religions to bring them back to their original faiths.For example at first Hinduism was really Islam but it got corrupted and polytheism started.If you look in Hindu book there are some trace of Monotheism left from the really OLDEN AGES.Even in Buddhism, it was once really Islam but it got corrupted.Now the Messiah has come for all people to join hand in hand and to worship the almighty.

      • Personally I am not fond of calling the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at a ‘sect’. It may not sound so bad in English may be, worse in German. The dictionary says that a sect is : ” 1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.
        2.a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.” Nr. 1 seems ok. Nr. 2 ? We are not deviating from religious tradition, the others are. I prefer just to call us the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (Community) or the Ahmadiyya Muslim School of Thought. Just my opinion. As I said in German as soon as one hears the word ‘Sekte’ it is already a very negative sound. Jehovah’s witnesses come to mind.

    • ‘anonymous’ replied to you nicely. That is why I will leave this repetition this time. No need for me to add anything.

  8. Because Saudi Arabia does not follow TRUE ISLAM.Plus your points are invalid.Whats wrong with wearing a beard.Nowadays it is stylish.I always hear on this webpage saying”SHARIAH NEEDS TO CHANGE BLAH BLAH”.YOU do not get, do you?We reject Isis, not because they’re old-fashioned we reject them because nowhere in Islamic history was the murder of innocents a thing.

    Somi I do not think you understand our beliefs so Let me go step by step with you

    1.Promoting polygamy
    Polygamy is allowed in Ahmadiyya because sometimes in such cases women need a husband to depend on,
    2. Implementing beheading, flogging, imputation, crucified at front of the public.
    Not an Islamic Practice.WE ARE TOTALLY AGAINST THIS
    3. Implementing women slave
    Wha? Women slave?
    4. Promoting unfair inheritance between girls and boys
    The assumption is because the man will take care of the women he will need money.
    5. Promoting segregation between male and female
    How is that Bad?We see in the western world due to free mixing there is sexual assaults.Muslims Men and Women are supposed to be pious individuals .they are separated in mosques because a mosque is where one goes to remember God not to see the other sex’s cleavage.
    6. Promoting Islamic Bank, halal meat or food.
    Pig has been proven to be unhealthy.A pig will eat its own children and its own feces.YOU REALLY want to EAT THAT?Intoxicants are forbidden because intoxicants cause one to lose control of ones’s self.
    7. Promoting burqa or Hijab
    Again MODESTY.The mother of Prophet Jesus(pbuh) wore HIJAB.MUSLIM WOMEN WANT TO B E SERVANTS OF GOD NOT SERVANTS OF MEN.Why do you want to get rid of the hijab?
    8. Promoting beard for male
    A BEARD IS A SUNNAH.The Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also has a beard,as well did the Promised Messiah(pbuh)
    9. Promoting haram for women to be a public leader.
    Bruh Stop LYING.Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan’s first FEMALE MUSLIM president.
    10. Promoting haram for a male to shake hand with women
    Women can’t shake the hand of a man either.Jews do this too,ya know.AGAIN MODESTY.
    11. Promoting haram for women to sing at TV or public place.
    You have obvoiuosly never been to Pakistan.We Pakistanis listen to music and sometimes the singers are WOMEN
    12. Promoting haram to eat meat pork and drink alcohol even small quantity

    Excuse me for typing with CAPS LOck on is just that SOmi TEmpo’s comments have frustrated me for a long time.




    I have also heard you say the Quran need sto be changed.NO it does not.This is exactly how the Bible got corrupted.PEople wanted to do things that they were told not to do and so they changed the bible so that they could do it.

    Rafiq I am sorry for my rant is just that I needed to get this off my chest.

    Somi I also sorry if I sound mean its just the fact that when people keep repeating ignorance as they were facts it annoys a person.IF you have questions I can respond.

    • See— if someone has different interpretation of Islam accussed Christian, Khafir, Shiah, not Islam, ignorent, etc
      The same as the extremist accuss Ahmadiyyah is not Muslim. Exactly the same accusation.
      Ahmadiyyah Muslim I know they are lovely Muslim, they respect the different thought. That is why Islam is beautiful.
      How have you been in Ahmadiyyah? You should follow MGA’s charecter— behavior—etc


      • I never heard of any Ahmadi Muslim complaining that a Muslim lady becomes Head of State (Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mauritius). Did you? Lady Imam, in front of men is another story.

  9. Plus Malala is not changing anything.She as Rafiq mentioned do the true Islamic things such as promoting education.So no she did not change the shariah.Also this webpage I have heard you saying that Hadrat Isa(pbuh) was god forbid God.SOmi are you a Christian?

  10. Somi if you didn’t know eating a pig is a sin in Islam and that will remain like that until the Day of Judgement when everyone will be judged.

      • Stop argueing for argueing’s sake. Pray to Allah for guidance. I think you got lots of answers now.

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