The Association of Non Stun Abattoirs (ANSA), an industry body representing traditional UK Halal slaughterhouses, on Wednesday welcomed the news that the proposed parliamentary bill to ban religious slaughter of animals in the Netherlands had been withdrawn. It was reported earlier that the bill was withdrawn after a majority of Dutch senators expressed their reservations to the ban on Halal and Kosher slaughter.
An agreement could be made with Jewish and Muslim slaughterhouses regarding the length of time that an animal is conscious before dying and the number of animals to be ritually slaughtered. Labor senator Nico Schrijver reportedly said his party now has “many questions” about the bill, including asking why it “so specifically aims its arrows at the rather small number of ritual slaughterers and why not large-scale industrial slaughter, which involves 500 million animals per year?”
ANSA spokesperson Mohammed Saleem said, “This is a positive, sensible and welcome step. We are glad they have finally seen sense. The initial movement to ban religious slaughter was based on misconceptions and some political motives. The welfare of animals is a primary concern for Muslims and Jews, and Kosher and Halal methods are both designed to be most compassionate to the animal. It is entirely incorrect to equate religious slaughter with cruelty to animals. The fact is there are countless other real acts of cruelty being carried out on animals daily in industrial slughterhouses, including under the guise of so-called ‘merciful’ methods of stunning, which merit proper scrutiny and attention. We would advise proponents of animal welfare to turn their focus to where the evidence actually leads them.”
The few countries that still ban religious slaughter in Europe are mostly traceable to pre-World War II anti-Semitism.
ANSA had, together with Shechita UK, spearheaded a campaign since the summer to have the proposed ban withdrawn. ANSA lobbied many MPs and used its avenues of influence to persuade the Dutch government and parliamentarians to seek a resolution. Mohammed Saleem said “This a tremendous success for our joint efforts. We said before and we re-iterate again, we stand united with the Jewish and Muslim communities of the UK, the Netherlands and other countries. The reversal of the Dutch decision should send a clear message to everyone that we will be united and defend any unjust attack on all fronts.”