Dutch bill to ban slaughter without pre-stunning clears lower house
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2011:
DEN HAAG–A bill to require that all animals who are
slaughtered for human consumption must be stunned before they are
killed was on June 28, 2011 approved 116-30 by the lower house of
the Dutch Parliament and passed to the Dutch senate.
The senate is not expected to act upon the bill before fall.
The bill in effect bans traditional kosher and halal slaughter.
Though some Judaic and Islamic religious authorities conditionally
allow pre-stunning, most hold that pre-stunning is a violation of
the requirements of Mosaic and Islamic religious law that animals be
conscious when their throats are swiftly cut with a sharp blade.
About 25,000 animals per year are killed without pre-stunning
in the Netherlands, according to the organization Halal Correct,
which monitors compliance of slaughter with Islamic requirements.
About one million Muslims living in the Netherlands and 40,000 to
50,000 Jews are believed to consume halal or kosher meat.
The bill to require pre-stunning was advanced by Geert
Wilders, founder of the anti-immigration Freedom Party, and
Marianne Thieme of the Party for the Animals. Both parties, with 24
and two seats in the Dutch house of representatives, respectively,
are part of the governing coalition. Wilders advocated the bill in
2007, a year after Thieme was first elected. Thieme introduced the
bill in 2008.
The bill passed five days after Wilders was acquitted of
charges of allegedly inciting ethnic hatred in articles published in
both print and electronic media between 2006-2008 which reportedly
called for a ban on the Quran, called Islam a fascist religion, and
warned against an “Islamic tsunami” overtaking the Netherlands.
Judge Marcel van Oosten termed Wilders’ statements “gross and
denigrating,” but ruled that they had not provoked violent
incidents, and were therefore “acceptable within the context of
New Zealand prohibited slaughter without prestunning in May 2011.
Australian Meat Industry Council chair Terry Nolan on June
26, 2011 joined the Royal SPCA in criticizing the failure of the
Australian government to require that cattle exported to Indonesia
and other Islamic nations must be pre-stunned. However, Australia
itself has at least 15 authorized halal and kosher slaughterhouses
that do not pre-stun. Several ship frozen carcasses to Islamic
customers, in competition with the live export trade. The
Australian ritual slaughter industry, however, accounts for under
1% of the national slaughter volume.
In India, reported Chetan Chauhan and Zia Haq of the
Hindustan Times on July 9, 2011, the federal environment ministry
amended the pending draft Animal Welfare Act 2011 to avoid
interpretation of the language to mean that it might prohibit halal,
kosher, or jhatka slaughter. Jhatka, practiced by Sikhs and many
meat-eating Hindus, requires that animals meant for human
consumption must be killed by beheading.
Added to the draft Animal Welfare Act 2011 was a passage
stating, “Nothing contained in this Act shall render it an offence
to kill any animal inn a manner required by the religion of any
This provision, however, may be construed as open-ended
approval of many other practices which are illegal in India but
continue in the guise of religious rites, including cockfights held
in temples and recreational hunting purporting to be sacrifice.