Dutch Parliament Likely To Ban Shechita Next Week

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Despite protests from Jewish groups and an appeal to Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Holland is set to ban shechita, following the Socialist party’s decision to support a proposal from the pro-animal party, the world’s first such party to be elected to parliament in 2006.

The proposal, which claims that there is evidence that shechita causes animals unnecessary paid and suffering, is likely to get a majority of votes at the Dutch parliament next week, political observers said.

Both Jewish kosher slaughter and Muslim halal slaughter demand that slaughter is carried out with a single cut to the throat. In ordinary abattoirs, animals are usually stunned before being killed.

The extreme right Party for Freedom (PVV) led by Geert Wilders supports the bill out of its hostility toward the Dutch Muslim population. According to the press, Wilders has an interest in helping the bill pass because his party uses the “animal lover” tag as part of its pitch against Halal butchering.

However, Wilders casts himself as a friend of Israel and the Jews, and by supporting the ban vote he risks losing their support.

Most Dutch favor a ban but many centrist and religious parties feel the issue is a distraction from the more serious issue of abuses at regular slaughterhouses. One of the two members of the governing coalition led by Mark Rutte, the Christian Democrats (CDA), oppose the law out of fear for damage to the country’s international image as a haven of tolerance for religious minorities.

Holland has a great tradition of tolerance and was one of the first countries in Europe to allow Jews to live openly with their religion in the 17th century.

The other member of the coalition, the liberal VVD party, has not yet determined which way it will vote.

Jewish and Muslim groups have called the initiative an affront to freedom of religion.

“I can speak for the Dutch Jewish Community and I think for the wider Jewish world, that this law raises grave concerns about infringements on religious freedom,” said Ruben Vis, spokesman for the Netherlands’ NIK, an umbrella of Jewish organizations.

“What’s worse is that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that slaughter without stunning is more harmful or painful for animals,” Vis of the CJO said.

In a letter to the Dutch Prime Minister ahead of the vote, European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Moshe Kantor said that the legislation would violate Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, namely the right to freedom of religious practice.

He also pointed out that Muslim ritual slaughter does not expressly forbid pre-slaughter stunning of animals, meaning that the legislation affects only the Jewish community and its slaughter of a couple thousand animals each year.

If the legislation passes, it would make Holland the first European Union country to ban kosher slaughter and it might have a domino effect threat in other parts of Europe.

New Zealand,, the Scandinavian and Baltic countries as well as Switzerland currently ban ritual slaughter.

Around 45,000 Jews live in Holland.

(Source: EJP)


8 COMMENTS

  1. The proposal, which claims that there is evidence that shechita causes animals unnecessary paid [sic] and suffering, is likely to get a majority of votes at the Dutch parliament next week, political observers said.

    It causes people unnecessary pain and suffering not to be able to eat meat! And buddy, a lion tearing out a wildebeest’s throat with its clawed paw hurts a heck of a lot more! And as you can see here, spotted hyenas eat their prey alive! As humans, we ought to be more kind, if we’re just a bunch of evolved monkeys, then why give a hoot?

  2. and was one of the first countries in Europe to allow Jews to live openly with their religion in the 17 th century.

    What in the world are they talking about? Jews kept Mitzvos openly in Germany and France. Perhaps they mean to say that Holland broke off from Spanish rule, and then allowed Jews to practice openly, as all other Jews in Europe.

  3. really sick people. they want to ban shechita because its cruel to animals, but at the same time they give a permit to some psyco to allow him to have five automatic weapons and guns, who went on a rampage earlier today in amsterdam killing six people. one gun is not enough, he had five legal permits to have five guns. you can kill people if you need to, but you cant slaughter a cow with a knife if you need to eat. what a sick world we live in.

  4. BS”D

    As this greatly inconveniences the Muslim soinim, who make the lives of Jews in Amsterdam miserable, I would be all for it as Jews can get better shechita in nearby Antwerp anyway.

    However, once one European country bans it, so will others. Also, having had many dealings with duplicitous Dutchmen who did not conceal their anti-Semitic attitudes, I will never forget that 80% of Dutch Jews were massacred by the Nazis, and that Holland had the most collaborators of any European country.

    If this goes through and I had anything Dutch to boycott, I would do just that. But Baan software is out of business, Philips is so overpriced for what they offer anyway (I avoid them on quality to price ratio issues for household appliances and I don’t own a shaver), I don’t eat ham or drink advocaat, so other than some beer that is brewed under license elsewhere anyway, and cocoa powder which I don’t think is processed in Holland anymore, not much to boycott there.