Praise as compromise nears for Dutch kosher meat slaughter ban

Rabbis and Jewish groups have welcomed the emergence of a deal to block a proposed ban on kosher and halal meat slaughter in the Netherlands.

Since the bill was announced it has been the subject of great controversy, not least after the Dutch lower house gave its backing in June. On Tuesday the bill went to the Senate for a debate, at which politicians from opposing parties appeared to reach a compromise.

During the debate key parties including Labour and the VVD party hinted that they would not vote in favour of the bill on December 20.

The Dutch deputy minister for agriculture, Henk Bleker, instead advanced a proposal that would avoid a ban on killing meat without prior stunning and instead find a solution in partnership with the Jewish and Muslim communities.

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said the developments appeared to be good. He added: "We are grateful that kosher slaughter of animals, which has been continuously practised by Jews for thousands of years and which is – contrary to the views of some activists – not a cruel practice, is now unlikely to be prohibited in the Netherlands.

"This is a victory of reason and religious freedom over political zeal."

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, was more hesitant, although he said the Dutch community could now "hope for a successful outcome". He called for "the prayers of the global Jewish community to now focus on the final vote".

Rabbi Goldschmidt added: "The support the Dutch community have received thus far from friends and colleagues all over the world has been invaluable throughout this process."

Last updated: 12:41pm, December 14 2011