Euro Jewish groups vow to fight Dutch slaughter ban
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS (Reuters) - Two leading Jewish organizations in Europe vowed on Wednesday to fight a looming ban on ritual animal slaughter in the Netherlands approved by the lower house of the Dutch parliament in a bid to protect animal rights.
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) announced it was considering taking legal action to block the ban, which it said violated the freedom of religion enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights.
The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) appealed to the Dutch Senate, which must approve the bill before it can become law, to block the ban that the lower house approved on Tuesday.
The bill by the small Animal Rights Party united both Jews and Muslims in protest because it would ban kosher and halal slaughter, which requires animals be conscious when killed.
European Union regulations say animals must be stunned before slaughter to minimize pain, but allow exceptions for the ancient religious traditions behind kosher and halal laws.
"This law stands in direct opposition to Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, namely the right to freedom of religion," EJC President Moshe Kantor said in a statement.
"We are now looking into the possibility of fighting this discriminatory law at the European level before it reaches the Dutch Senate for a vote to make it law."
CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt vowed to lobby against the bill, saying: "We will not rest until this discriminatory, intolerant and hateful bill is thrown out. We call upon the members of the Dutch Senate to use their constitutional powers to restore the dignity of their country." Continued...