The European Court of Justice has upheld the decision of the Flemish region in Belgium to ban kosher slaughter without pre-empting the animal, as is the practice in Judaism and Islam, requiring that the slaughter be done while the animals are conscious. The ruling published this morning (Thursday) states that the legislation in Belgium is the principle according to which an animal is orphaned before slaughter complies with the purpose of animal welfare under this law. The hoisting is designed to reduce the suffering of the animal during slaughter.
The tribunal also ruled that the law prohibiting kosher slaughter does not violate the right to freedom of religion in the union and that member states are allowed to rule that animals must be slaughtered before slaughter. The tribunal further ruled that the ban is legal because it pertains to one aspect of the kosher slaughter ceremony, and does not prohibit it completely, and therefore does not contravene the EU Treaty.
Judgment of the European Court of Justice … by maariv
It was further ruled that the prohibition is proportional and balances the importance of animal welfare with the right of Jews and Muslims to observe the precepts of their religion. In Snoop, the tribunal mentions that the law does not prohibit the importation of kosher meat slaughtered in other countries, and therefore it does not prevent eating kosher food according to both religions.
The law in Belgium came into force almost two years ago and provoked outrage among senior members of the Jewish community in Europe. The head of the conference of European rabbis, Pinchas Goldschmidt, then attacked the move, saying it was “a sad day for European Jews, a sad day for religious freedom in Europe. The ban should serve as a wake-up call for Jewish communities across Europe who need to build ties with various governments.”
He added that “time and time again, senior members of the European Union tell the Jewish community that there is no Europe without the Jews, but these bans undermine these statements and endanger Jewish lives. We call on EU leaders to convey this message to members of the various governments. Officials when we meet hundreds of rabbis ahead of our biennial conference in Belgium this spring. ”