Hoffy's Kosher Restaurant in Antwerpen, Belgium
Hoffy's Kosher Restaurant in Antwerpen, Belgium
Photo: AP
Hoffy's Kosher Restaurant in Antwerpen, Belgium

Jewish groups decry EU ritual slaughter ruling

Local community in Belgium slam decision as 'denial of democracy' that did not respect the rights of minority groups, raise concerns similar embargoes could be applied in other European Union countries

AFP |
Published: 12.17.20 , 15:58
The European Court of Justice ruled Thursday that authorities can order animals to be stunned before slaughter in a move decried by Jewish groups as attacking religious freedom.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • The court backed a regulation imposed in the Flemish region of Belgium banning the slaughter of livestock that have not been stunned on animal rights grounds.
    Hoffy's Kosher Restaurant in Antwerpen, BelgiumHoffy's Kosher Restaurant in Antwerpen, Belgium
    Hoffy's Kosher Restaurant in Antwerpen, Belgium
    (Photo: AP)
    The measure was seen as effectively outlawing the Muslim halal and Jewish kosher traditions, which require livestock to be conscious when their throats are slit.
    "The court concludes that the measures contained in the decree allow a fair balance to be struck between the importance attached to animal welfare and the freedom of Jewish and Muslim believers to manifest their religion," the ruling said.
    An umbrella organization for Jewish groups in Belgium slammed the decision as a "denial of democracy" that did not respect the rights of minority groups.
    The European Court of JusticeThe European Court of Justice
    The European Court of Justice
    (Photo: Gettyimages)
    "The fight continues, and we will not admit defeat until we have exhausted all our legal remedies, which is not yet the case," Yohan Benizri, head of the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organisations, said.
    Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association, said the ruling represented a "sad day for European Jewry".
    "What a terrible message to send to European Jewry, that you and your practices are not welcome here. This is a basic denial of our rights as European citizens," he said in a statement.
    מנחם מרגולין מנחם מרגולין
    Rabbi Menachem Margolin
    (Photo: Yoni Rikner)
    Belgium's Flanders regional government issued the order in 2017 which took effect in 2019 that abattoirs must stun livestock before slaughtering them.
    Animal rights activists had pushed for the ban, arguing that stunning animals so that they are unconscious when they are killed is more humane.
    Belgian authorities argued that the measure would "reduce their suffering" but it was widely perceived as being targeted at the Muslim halal tradition.
    Talkbacks for this article 0