Dutch compromise over kosher slaughter ban

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2011
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The Dutch government will not ban shechitah or halal slaughter outright, but said it would draw up new guidelines in an attempt to satisfy animal rights activists.

The government announced this week it would appoint a commission to set out tighter procedures for slaughter.

Earlier this year, the Dutch lower house approved a ban on kosher and halal slaughter. Last week, however, support for the bill evaporated during a debate in the senate, which put forward the compromise proposal.

Secretary for Trade and Agriculture Henk Bleker said the new rules would dictate how long an animal would be allowed to remain conscious after its throat is cut, ensuring that it does not suffer for longer than 30 seconds. After this cut-off point, if still conscious, the animal would have to be stunned by law. Kosher slaughter prohibits the pre-stunning of animals.

The president of the Conference of European Rabbis has warned against claiming a premature victory.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt explained that although the bill is unlikely to be endorsed by the senate in its current form, there was still much work to be done.

"Minister Bleker will be writing to the Jewish community recommending a number of compromise proposals. We will look very carefully at the recommendations in detail to ensure that they do not include elements which will impede shechitah."

Last updated: 12:49pm, December 22 2011