Despite the lobbying attempts of Shechita UK, an amendment was passed last week at the European Parliament which would, if it became law, force the labelling of meat from animals killed according to the rules of Judaism and Islam.
It will now come to the full Parliament for a final vote in July. Whatever the rights and wrongs of labelling in general, be in no doubt that the arguments put forward by the amendment's sponsors, that their proposal is based on a concern with animal welfare, are pure sophistry. Were animal welfare the driving force, all forms of slaughter would have to be identified.
But the law singles out two religions, Judaism and Islam, for specific and sole attack, requiring labelling only for animals killed by ritual slaughter. Yet for every animal expert arguing that they use uniquely cruel methods there are any number of others arguing the very opposite. There is no consistency of approach, only a direct attack on religious freedom. Efforts will have to be redoubled to make sure that, come July, we are not left bemoaning a vote by the full Parliament to attack Jews and Muslims.