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EU: Dutch groups agree on ritual animal slaughter reforms

| 05/06/2012 | 3 Replies

 AFP/The Hague

Dutch Agriculture Deputy Minister Henk Bleker signed an agreement with religious leaders yesterday to make ritual slaughter more humane, including stunning animals after 40 seconds.

“The agreement states that animals have to be unconscious 40 seconds after a cut to the neck has been performed,” Bleker’s ministry said in a statement, adding: “If not the case, the animal has to be stunned.”

The agreement also insisted the cut “had to be done with one fluid uninterrupted movement.

Plans by the Dutch Lower House for a law requiring animals to be stunned before halal or kosher slaughter suffered a setback late last year when parliament’s Upper House, which has the final say, gave it the thumbs down, urging a compromise solution.

Bleker then met Dutch Muslim and Jewish representatives for a solution. He said yesterday’s accord was “a good balance … between religious freedom and the improvement of the welfare of animals”.

A scientific advice committee has also been set up to answer any questions about the agreement, which comes into force today.

Dutch law requires animals to be stunned before butchering but makes an exception for ritual halal and kosher slaughter.

In June last year, the Dutch Lower House voted in favour of an amended proposal by the country’s Party for the Animals (PvdD), which holds two seats in the 150-seat Lower House, for a law that all animals should be stunned before slaughter.

The plan drew outrage from both the Muslim and Jewish communities, whose representatives insisted ritual slaughter respected the animals’ welfare and that those doing the slaughtering were expertly trained.

More than 2mn animals are ritually slaughtered in the Netherlands every year, according to the PvdD. Muslim groups say it is closer to 250,000.



Category: EU, Europe, Halal Integrity, Meat & Poultry

Comments (3)

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  1. Joe M Regenstein says:

    Both Temple Grandin and I have advocated this type of post-slaughter stunning. If the animal is not unconscious (retains the ability to support itself for cattle), then the cut was a failure and an alternative method to put the animal down should be undertaken. The 40 seconds is a reasonable rule given that Temple’s data for cattle, the hardest to kill, show that with a good cut the animal becomes unconscious in 17 to 33 seconds. It puts some pressure on the slaughtermen to be sure they do things right and make a proper cut. This is consistent with the EU requirements to upgrade the training of the religious slaughtermen and of the need to recognize animal welfare concerns. It also means the end of situations that have been overused by the opposition that it took up to 4 minutes for the animal to lose the ability to stand.

  2. salama says:

    Anti Defamation League – USA
    “Even when the stated purpose is animal welfare, any attempt to ban kosher or halal slaughter is an assault on religious freedom,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This agreement demonstrates that creative compromises are possible that protect religious freedom while promoting animal welfare. We congratulate the Dutch government and the Jewish and Muslim religious leaders on finding a responsible resolution to the misguided legislation proposed by the Party for the Animals.”

  3. salama says:

    It is with great pleasure that I offer my congratulations to all involved with the signing of the Dutch Covenant. ANSA stands proud in welcoming the Covenant negotiated in Amsterdam which secures the continuance of both Halal and Shechita in the Netherlands. Echoing with NIK-President Mr Jacob Hartog: “ calling for the ban of religious slaughter on the perception of animal welfare violates the basic truth.”
    In the midst of all of this we must not get complacent. Although a lot has been accomplished there is so much more that needs to be done and when working together as one unit our goals can be achieved.

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