World Bulletin / News Desk
Muslims and Jews see the new law as the “ban on halal food,” and therefore, interference into the freedom of religion. ‘Danish Halal’ a body representing 53 Muslim organizations including the Islamic Community in Denmark started a petition against the law, and expects to garner some 20,000 signatures against the introduction of the law.
The Jewish Society in Denmark also reacted to the new regulation, which they say is politically motivated and a decision based on anti-minority sentiments.
Monday’s law entered into force following the killing of a healthy 18-month giraffe in Copenhagen zoo despite worldwide protests and condemnation. The giraffe was declared inappropriate for breeding purposes because his genes were deemed “too common.”
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Dan Jorgensen defended the new law saying “animal rights precedes religious beliefs.”
Jorgensen explained that slaughter is not normally conducted without anesthetizing in Denmark and the new law only legalized the ongoing practice, stressing that such a law is also in force in Sweden and Norway and has no interference in religion.
In late 2013, a draft law was first proposed in Denmark after a 2012 mandate that legalizes slaughter according to religious practices. The then-Danish food minister, Karen Haekkerup, became Justice Minister in 2013 and introduced the draft law which Jorgensen continued to work on.
Doha News quote:
Several Qatar-based Islamic scholars have spoken out about the decision, raising concerns not just about meat exported from Denmark to Qatar, but also imports from other European countries. Muawafi Mohamemd Azb told the Peninsula:
“Denmark’s decision represents a dangerous shift that Muslims should take seriously. They have to oppose this decision and convince European countries exporting meet to Arab world to respect Muslims’ values and religion, because Islam clearly states that eating dead animals is haram.”
Meanwhile, another scholar, Abdussalam Al Basyouni, told the paper that he was concerned about halal meat slaughtered in other Western countries, as, he argued, there was “no proper monitoring” to ensure this meat was always produced according to strict Islamic principles.
The scholars have asked Qatar’s authorities to be “cautious” about all meat imported from Denmark.
Official Statement from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries:
Halal slaughter remains legal in Denmark
The slaughter of animals according to Islamic precepts remains legal in Denmark, as long as the animal is stunned first. Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Dan Jørgensen stresses that such slaughter is still legal in Denmark.
“To eliminate all doubt, let me make it clear that slaughter according to Islamic precepts is still permitted in Denmark. This is not changing. It is important for the Danish government that everybody in Denmark can purchase meat slaughtered according to Islamic precepts without coming into conflict with their religious beliefs,” says Dan Jørgensen.
A new executive order takes effect today, requiring the stunning of animals before slaughter according to religious precepts. The slaughter of animals according to the halal method remains legal, as long as the animal is stunned first.
“No slaughter without pre-stunning has been registered in Denmark in the last ten years. It is still permitted to import meat slaughtered without pre-stunning. And a very large amount of Danish meat has been – and will continue to be – halal slaughtered, with the animal stunned right before slaughter,” says Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Dan Jørgensen.
With the new executive order, Denmark follows in the wake of a number of European countries with similar regulations requiring the stunning of animals before slaughter.