Hope for kosher slaughter in Holland

By Jessica Elgot, December 21, 2011
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The lower house approved a ban earlier this year on kosher and halal slaughter

The lower house approved a ban earlier this year on kosher and halal slaughter

The Dutch government will not ban shechitah or halal slaughter outright – but will draw up new guidelines in an attempt to satisfy animal rights activists.

A commission will be appointed to draw up tighter procedures for slaughter.

The lower house approved a ban earlier this year on kosher and halal slaughter, which is killing without pre-stunning. The upper house was in deadlock until compromise proposals were made.

Secretary for Trade and Agriculture Henk Bleker said new rules would be drawn up for how long an animal would have to be conscious after its throat is cut, ensuring that an animal does not suffer for longer than 30 seconds before being stunned.

The president of the Conference of European Rabbis has cautioned against claiming premature victory. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt explained that although the Bill in its current form is unlikely to be endorsed by the Senate, there was still much work to be done.

"Minister Bleker will be writing to the Jewish community recommending a number of compromise proposals. The community, together with the industry and animal welfare groups will be invited to respond.

“The CER will offer its support in analysing the recommendations. The minister has asked for responses within three months and we will look very carefully at the recommendations in detail to ensure that they do not include elements which will impede shechitah."

The Senate devoted a 16-hour debate to the issue last week.

The proposed ban, which resulted in intense lobbying from the Jewish and Muslim communities, attracted support from a number of groups, including Geert Wilders' Freedom Party, which has a record of being critical of Islam.

Last updated: 9:56am, December 22 2011