Dutch vote to ban kosher slaughter

By Jessica Elgot, June 28, 2011
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The proposed ban of kosher meat in Holland has passed the first hurdle

The proposed ban of kosher meat in Holland has passed the first hurdle

The Dutch parliament has voted to approve a ban on kosher and halal slaughter, after intense lobbying by animal rights groups.

The Senate must now vote on the measure, which will most likely take place in September. The Dutch Party for Animals, the first group of its kind to win seats in a national parliament in Europe, have been lobbying to close a loophole in Dutch law which gives Jews and Muslims permission to kill an animal without stunning.

David Zwartz, the chairman of the Wellington Jewish Council in New Zealand, whose country also attempted to ban kosher slaughter, told CNN: "The banning of shechita was introduced as an anti-Jewish law by the Nazis in Germany three months after they came into power.

"Freedom of religious practice is a hallmark of civilized (and most Western) societies. For Orthodox Jews, the eating of kosher meat is a central part of their belief."

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has also traveled to the Netherlands two weeks ago to lobby against the law.

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the ban was a repudiation of the Netherlands' historic commitment to religious freedom.

"Dutch Jews must not be put to the choice of violating a central tenet of Judaism, foregoing fresh meat, or emigrating," he said.

"We call upon the Dutch Senate to prevent this action from leading to a clear violation of religious freedom that has a disproportionate impact on the Jewish community."

The Conference of European Rabbis said the decision was an outage. The organisation's president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said: "The practical effects of this bill mean that Jews are no longer welcome in The Netherlands. This has not happened for 70 years."

Last updated: 9:04am, June 29 2011