Vehement reactions have been heard in the European Jewish community following the Dutch ban on the export of Kosher as well as Halal meat, and on the slaughtering of animals used in the production of such meats.
The ban, which was ratified on Tuesday, has been criticized for ‘ignoring evidence that it is a humane method of slaughter’.
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) said that the proposal “ignores the ample body of scientific evidence” which illustrates that shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) is a “humane method of animal slaughter.”
Goldschmidt claimed, according to a report that appeared in the Jewish News, that the new ban was contrary to the rules of “the single market” which exist under European Union law and “which would render it [the ban] illegal.”
He added that the CER would “support the local community in their efforts to ensure that Europe as a whole is united on this topic.”
The U.K.’s Independent reported that Denmark’s government had brought in the ban on after years of pressure coming from animal welfare activists’ campaigns.
The change to the law has been called “anti-Semitic” by Jewish leaders and “a clear interference in religious freedom” by the non-profit group Danish Halal.
According to European Union regulations, animals are required to be stunned and unconscious before they are slaughtered. However, the law grants exemptions on religious grounds to both the Jewish and Muslim community throughout the Union.
Defending his government’s decision to remove this exemption, the Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Food Dan Jørgensen told Denmark’s TV2 that “animal rights come before religion”.
Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan Israel’s deputy minister of religious services told the Jewish Daily Forward: “European anti-Semitism is showing its true colors across Europe, and is even intensifying in the government institutions.”