Netherlands: No veterinarian present? Then no ritual slaughter, says minister

The government is to make it compulsory for a veterinarian to be present during the ritual slaughter of animals, junior minister Henk Bleker is quoted as saying in a briefing to the senate on Tuesday.

At the moment, small slaughterhouses are not required to have a vet on the premises, but that must change within the next three months, Bleker said. The government will help pay for the changes, the NRC reported.

The move is one of several measures Bleker wants to introduce to improve animal welfare when animals are killed according to the Jewish or Muslim faith.


Although the lower house of parliament voted in favour of a ban on killing animals without them being stunned or anaesthetised, the upper house of parliament is against the ban on freedom of religion grounds.

The involvement of a vet is part of a compromise deal put forward by Bleker.

Bleker also wants to introduce a limit on the length of time an animal can take to die after its throat is cut and the maximum number of cuts. Those limits will be drawn up in consultation with religious groups, the NRC said.

The minister also wants to stop the export of halal and kosher meat from the Netherlands to other countries. The senate, or upper house of parliament, is due to vote on the ban later on Tuesday.