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Does the U.S. need to Ban Religious Slaughtering Practices?

Should the U.S. ban kosher and halal slaughter?

by Countable | 1.10.19

What’s the story?

  • Belgium has banned the Muslim and Jewish methods of ritually slaughtering animals that make them halal and kosher.
  • The ban was pushed by animal rights advocates and right-wing nationalists.

Why the ban? Why the pushback?

  • Europe and the European Union have regulations requiring that animals be rendered insensible to pain before slaughter, making the process more humane. Usually this means using a “captive bolt” device that fires a meal rod into the animal’s brain.
  • But kosher and halal rules mandate that an animal be in perfect health prior to slaughter, then killed with a single cut to the neck. Religious authorities say this rules out stunning the animal first.

What are both sides saying?

  • Ann De Greef, director of Global Action in the Interest of Animals, a Belgian animal rights group, said religious authorities refuse to accept that stunning could still be considered ritual slaughter.
  • “They want to keep living in the Middle Ages and continue to slaughter without stunning — as the technique didn’t yet exist back then — without having to answer to the law,” she said.
“Well, I’m sorry, in Belgium the law is above religion and that will stay like that.”
  • Jewish and Muslim leaders in Belgium have filed lawsuits which they hope will lift the ban on slaughtering animals without stunning.
  • “The government asked for our advice on the ban, we responded negatively, but the advice wasn’t taken,” Saatci Bayram, a leader of the Muslim community, told the New York Times.
“This ban is presented as a revelation by animal rights activists, but the debate on animal welfare in Islam has been going on for 1,500 years. Our way of ritual slaughtering is painless.”
  • It is debated in the U.S. whether religious slaughter is more humane than secular slaughter.

What do you think?

Should the U.S. follow Belgium’s lead and ban religious slaughter? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / asikkk)

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