Danish government bans kosher slaughter

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Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Minister Dan Jørgensen has signed a regulation which effectively bans religious slaughter in the country. “Animal rights come before religion,” Jørgensen told Denmark’s TV2 television news. The regulation requires all animal slaughter to be carried out with prior stunning of the animal, which is against shechita (Jewish religious slaughter).

The measure will go into effect on Monday. It will have little practical consequences for Jewish life in Denmark since for the past ten years all kosher meat sold in Denmark has been imported from abroad.

Under the new regulation, Danish slaughterhouses can no longer apply for an exemption to pre-stunning.

Both the Jewish and the Muslim communities in Denmark have strongly opposed the decree, arguing that it constitutes an infringement of religious freedom.Jørgensen rejected the argument: “When they [the religious communities] are upset about the ban even though they have not taken advantage of the exemptions available, it can only be because in the future they would like to carry out slaughter without stunning.”

Written By: World Jewish Congress
continue to source article at worldjewishcongress.org

47 COMMENTS

  1. ABC Australia aired secretly filmed slaughter in Indonesian abattoirs showing vicious cruelty, which stopped live exports- for a while.

    Live export is unnecessary pandering to religious bloodletting; let them have frozen carcasses from humane slaughter, or nothing.

    • In reply to #2 by Fritz:

      ABC Australia aired secretly filmed slaughter in Indonesian abattoirs showing vicious cruelty…

      Australia is worse than that. It is the biggest supplier of live animals to the Middle East (where there is little grazing). Animals are packed into ships’ holds for a 6 week voyage. Over the years, at least a million such animals have died from suffocation en route, and have simply been tipped over the side. Those that survive the journey then face inhumane slaughter, because God doesn’t like refrigeration.

      New Zealand has quite rightly given up this trade. Australia should do likewise. We cannot reasonably criticise inhumane treatment of animals while we not only enable it, but practice it ourselves.

      • In reply to #15 by Stevehill:

        In reply to #2 by Fritz:

        ABC Australia aired secretly filmed slaughter in Indonesian abattoirs showing vicious cruelty…

        Australia is worse than that. It is the biggest supplier of live animals to the Middle East (where there is little grazing). Animals are packed into ships’ holds for a 6 week…

        Australia has given exemption to more than 100 abattoirs to slaughter as per strict Halal law.
        I discovered that there are many food manufacturers in Australia using Halal gelatine, sourced from animals that have not been humanely slaughtered, but slaughtered according to Halal. This Halal gelatine component can be seen in very small print on some cream, yoghurt, ice cream, confectionery, including chocolate centres, . I find it’s an insidious practice and I’m trying to get advisory signage at POS, but not holding out much hope.

        One of my naive vegetarian friends thought that Halal Gelatine was a vegetable substitute. She was not impressed when discovering the true nature of it.

  2. Excellent. There is no good excuse for holocausting animals like that! You’re not Nazis are you? You can eat the meat of the animal, but let it first live a decent life, then kill it quickly and painlessly. No need to torture it. Thank you.

    • In reply to #3 by Fouad Boussetta:

      Excellent. There is no good excuse for holocausting animals like that! You’re not Nazis are you? You can eat the meat of the animal, but let it first live a decent life, then kill it quickly and painlessly. No need to torture it. Thank you.

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard holocaust used as a verb before, Fouad. I have heard of Mike Godwin though.

      • In reply to #5 by Katy Cordeth:

        I don’t think I’ve ever heard holocaust used as a verb before, Fouad. I have heard of Mike Godwin though.

        I see that as usual, you are so much in a rush to slap my ass (or someone else’s) that you forget to comment on the main article. Do you have an opinion about kosher slaughter?

  3. Polish government also banned this cruel practice. This was achieved thanks to nearly universal support of the electorate. The minority which opposed the banning mainly consisted of twenty thousand Polish Muslims.

    • In reply to #4 by HenMie:

      Polish government also banned this cruel practice. This was achieved thanks to nearly universal support of the electorate. The minority which opposed the banning mainly consisted of twenty thousand Polish Muslims.

      Well, good to hear that the Polish government does something right in this regard. If they would also step up and fight the wide spread homophobia in Poland I would be even more pleased.

      • So would I, Nunbeliever; well observed. The homophobia there is really shameful but fighting it, as you put it, will not be initiated by the government since some of the biggest homophobes can be found on the benches of the Sejm. I blame the deep influence of religion permeating Polish society since Christianity was introduced in the 10th century – a long time to soak through into every innocent mind, if not heart as well.

        In a way, banning halal practice was easy for them since it was of an alien religion (and you cannot get any more ‘alien’ than Islam in almost one hundred percent Catholic Poland) while homophobia sits comfortably right inside their own religion, and criticizing that would not be as easy for them. Christians everywhere, I think, but especially Catholics in Poland, are very defensive about their wacky beliefs. Surely, the famous (in Poland) young singer, Doda, had to appear in court on a charge of offending religion (!) after she was asked about her beliefs and answered: ‘I believe in what there is’.

        In reply to #21 by Nunbeliever:*

        In reply to #4 by HenMie:

        Polish government also banned this cruel practice. This was achieved thanks to nearly universal support of the electorate. The minority which opposed the banning mainly consisted of twenty thousand Polish Muslims.

        Well, good to hear that the Polish government does someth…

    • In reply to #6 by GOD:

      “Animal rights come before religion”

      As an (atheist) Jew and an animal lover, I applaud this.

      As an (atheist) English/Welsh/Scottish/Norman/North African animal tolerator, I also applaud this.

  4. As a vegetarian, I applaud this move by the Danish government.

    It is good to see them taking steps towards us treating animals in a more humane way. It is still a long way to
    go before we get the religious folk to admit that humans are animals and not some deity appointed special being.

    • In reply to #7 by Stuart Coyle:

      As a vegetarian, I applaud this move by the Danish government.

      It is good to see them taking steps towards us treating animals in a more humane way. It is still a long way to
      go before we get the religious folk to admit that humans are animals and not some deity appointed special being.

      Yes, this is of course a step in the right direction. Still, I feel it’s kind of hypocritical to ban kosher slaughtering while allowing the meat industry to go on abusing animals on a daily basis.

      • I agree. However, when there are laws that require pre-stunning, I think they should be enforced. Even so, I’m with you: we have a long way to go.In reply to #22 by Nunbeliever:

        In reply to #7 by Stuart Coyle:

        As a vegetarian, I applaud this move by the Danish government.

        It is good to see them taking steps towards us treating animals in a more humane way. It is still a long way to
        go before we get the religious folk to admit that humans are animals and not some deity ap…

  5. Number of Jews in Denmark according to this article: 6000

    Population of Denmark: 5.59 million (2012)

    Number of McDonalds restaurants in Denmark: 99

    Number of giraffes needlessly killed in Denmark last week: 1

    Number of pigs butchered by some company called Danish Crown “tour our virtual slaughterhouse” in 2012/13: 14.8 million. What am I looking for, Danish Crown? How ’bout something to gouge my eyes out with after visiting your terrifying website, you sick viking barstøds you

    Awesomeness of Sandi Toksvig: inestimable

    That is all

    • In reply to #9 by Katy Cordeth:

      Number of Jews in Denmark according to this article: 6000

      Population of Denmark: 5.59 million (2012)

      Number of McDonalds restaurants in Denmark: 99

      Number of giraffes needlessly killed in Denmark last week: 1

      Sorry, I’ve lost the drift. Do you have an opinion on kosher slaughter?

      Number of pigs butchered by some company called Danish Crown “tour our virtual slaughte…

      • In reply to #16 by justinesaracen:

        In reply to #9 by Katy Cordeth:

        Number of Jews in Denmark according to this article: 6000

        Population of Denmark: 5.59 million (2012)

        Number of McDonalds restaurants in Denmark: 99

        Number of giraffes needlessly killed in Denmark last week: 1

        Sorry, I’ve lost the drift. Do you have an opinion on kosher slaughter?

        My own fault I suppose for attempting to be subtle on a website whose members, some of them anyway, are blind to nuance. What I was alluding to was that the number of animals killed for the dinner table is so vast (nearly fifteen million pigs in a two year period in that one abattoir I mentioned alone, God knows how many worldwide) that no one who regularly eats meat should be getting on their high Tesco lasagna ready meal about this means of slaughter.

        It seems to me that up until the time comes to turn a pig into chops or a chicken into nuggets, animals destined to end up on a Jewish dinner plate will have the same existence as their cousins who go on to be eaten by non-Jews, only going their separate ways when the slaughterhouse lorries drive up.
        The duty of care owed by humans to those creatures we bring into existence because of our appetite for their flesh, if we lay claim to being concerned about animal welfare of course, should extend from the moment they come into the world until they leave it.

        Focusing on the final seconds of life and insisting the killing of an animal should be humane may make us feel good about ourselves, but if its life up to that point has been one of absolute misery; if it’s been kept chained up so its muscles do not develop and its meat will be all the more tender when served; if it’s been packed into such close proximity with its fellows that it goes insane from the sheer noise of this environment; if it’s used as equipment in a game of baseball; then the term ‘humane slaughter’ becomes bitterly ironic, with opposition to religious methods of dispatching animals just a pathetic sop to our own conscience.


        The article says this ban is seen by some as a populist measure, and that sort of thing tends to make me nervous, particularly when it’s directed at minority communities. This issue didn’t exactly seem to be a pressing one as “for the past ten years all kosher meat sold in Denmark has been imported from abroad.”

        So, Phil’s insistence that I tend to perceive malicious intent where none exists notwithstanding, I wonder what it’s really about.

        • In reply to #30 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #16 by justinesaracen:

          In reply to #9 by Katy Cordeth:

          Speaking as an omnivore, I’d prefer that my meat came from a beast with happy life prior to its execution and I’d like it to be killed as humanely as possible. I deliberately seek out meat labelled as such in the supermarket. This must be a popular trend because supermarkets employ such labels as a marketing tool nowadays.

          I also look for eggs that have come from happy chooks, (blissfully seeing out their days in a rural paradise). This is probably far from reality but the carton looks appealing.

        • In reply to #30 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #16 by justinesaracen:

          It is indeed the life they have lived up until the stun gun end that counts. I am a huge fan of Temple Grandin and her continuing work in this area. I and my kids eat only British pigs having a higher level of welfare than Danish and whilst those last few seconds matter, as you say, this is a tiny detail. If only an extended scale of animal welfare could be instigated, competition could continue to drive standards up.

          Stevehill observed that now (in the UK) 80% of Hallal slaughter involved stunning after some finessing of what was actually religiously called for. Why can’t this apply to Kosher too?

          So, Phil’s insistence that I tend to perceive malicious intent where none exists notwithstanding, I wonder what it’s really about.

          I insist nothing. I suggested you read, with great ease, (and over much sometimes?) harms done to others. Quite separately I have observed that most people, as often as not, impute malice as a motive for other peoples’ actions at various times. This confounds me as it explains nothing and publishes a harm that cannot be recalled.

          (So harms are mostly the result of thoughtlessness or over-zealous in-group protectiveness….and therefore fixable.)

          • In reply to #33 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #30 by Katy Cordeth:

            …It is indeed the life they have lived up until the stun gun end that counts. I am a huge fan of Temple Grandin and her continuing work in this area. I and my kids eat only British pigs having a higher level of welfare than Danish and whilst those last few seconds matter, as you say, this is a tiny detail. If only an extended scale of animal welfare could be instigated, competition could continue to drive standards up.

            I think animal welfare standards tend to reflect human ones. In other words, when comfortably off ourselves we pay that forward to the critters we consume. In times of economic prosperity we have the luxury of feeling guilty about our appetites and our impact on the planet.

            In periods of recession, such concerns tend to go out the window. If your wallet is bulging you’ll doubtless find the idea of battery farms revolting and insist that what makes it to your table was lovingly hand-reared, sung to every day, received weekly massages from a qualified poultry masseuse, and was fed on premium corn, or whatever it is chickens eat; chickenfeed possibly.

            Find yourself in reduced circumstances yet still with a family to feed and a £1.99 supermarket bird is going to look pretty tempting. That two-for-one offer on brand name-free frozen spag bols will be singing its siren song as well.

            I imagine that as the human planetary population increases and the gap between rich and poor grows larger there’s going to come a time when animal well-being worriment will be shelved permanently.

            I’m suddenly in the mood for a chimpanzee and tomato sandwich.

            So, Phil’s insistence that I tend to perceive malicious intent where none exists notwithstanding, I wonder what it’s really about.

            I insist nothing. I suggested you read, with great ease, (and over much sometimes?) harms done to others.

            I’m trying to work on that; I really, genuinely am.

          • In reply to #37 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #33 by phil rimmer:

            when comfortably off ourselves we pay that forward to the critters we consume.

            But also all critters consumed or not and non-human or not. (Edit…erm…obviously one quadrant of the possibilities does not really concern us…..yet. Things haven’t got that bad.)

            We are generally better people when not pushed to the edge and desperate. We are more who we would like to be. I personally don’t buy prophecies of doom when the net net of human endeavour is inexorably to the better by most measures. There was never a golden age and I never fail to see solutions to our new problems.

            I try better to see harms. I know I fail to see all manner of them.

        • In reply to #30 by Katy Cordeth:

          From your link:
          “Their lawyer told magistrates in Norwich that Palmer and Allen – who no longer work for Bernard Matthews – were influenced by ‘peer pressure’ and part of a ‘culture’ at the plant.”

          Getting rid of such ‘culture’ has to start somewhere. In China, dogs are more and more pets and less and less food. In Spain, corridas are not seen as so much fun anymore. Dog fighting is not the honorable business that used to be. French chefs tell us that it does not make a difference if you boil the lobster alive or not…

  6. The amazing thing about this legislation is that it seems to be based on principle! But passing such legislation is easier when those who may oppose it (Jews and Muslims) are only a very small proportion of the electorate. Still, it is a start, a step in the right direction, which I wish my own country, New Zealand, would follow. This, however, is not likely any time soon, because New Zealand exports quite a lot of halal meat.

    • In reply to #10 by Cairsley:

      Still, it is a start, a step in the right direction, which I wish my own country, New Zealand, would follow. This, however, is not likely any time soon, because New Zealand exports quite a lot of halal meat.

      Quote:
      “In New Zealand, all commercial slaughter of livestock, including religious slaughter, must be undertaken in a humane manner in accordance with New Zealand’s animal welfare laws. These laws require animals to be ‘stunned’ immediately prior to slaughter. Stunning ensures an immediate loss of consciousness to prevent animals from feeling any pain during the slaughter process.”

      Source: http://www.beeflambnz.co.nz/index.pl?page=faq&m=458#9

      Hopefully exports are included.

  7. Both the Jewish and the Muslim communities in Denmark have strongly opposed the decree, arguing that it constitutes an infringement of religious freedom.

    Laws against beating your wife and killing heretics also infringe on your religious freedom, what’s your damn point? Reasonable laws infringing on ignorant religious customs is perfectly normal and accepted practice, I don’t see an issue. Should we start killing people who mix their fibers?

  8. Good for Denmark. It’s worth putting on record that in the UK better than 90% of halal meat is pre-stunned and meets modern requirements for humane slaughter of animals, and hopefully the other 10% will get there without legislation.

    Only Judaism remains resolutely opposed to humane slaughter.

    It really is time they grew up about this nonsense… and it is complete and utter nonsense. Like circumcision.

      • In reply to #36 by Fritz:

        In reply to #14 by Stevehill:

        Only Judaism remains resolutely opposed to humane slaughter.

        Really? So Islam is now reformed?? Still in the business of human slaughter, I note

        Credit where due. I don’t doubt pre-stunning does not occur in the ignorant-goatherd brand of Islamic states, but where modern humane abattoirs exist, as in the UK, they have proven more than willing to go with the tide and use them. Nothing in Islam prevents the most humane slaughter achievable. Arguably Islam requires it.

        The only halal requirement is that an imam say a prayer for the animal at the moment of slaughter. Which seems fair enough to me, and perhaps rather more respectful of the animal than the average large western agribusiness is likely to demonstrate.

        I happen to think Islam is a blight on humanity, a philosophical blind alley, and a threat to world peace. But not all of it.

        • In reply to #43 by Stevehill:

          Dhabiha is the prescribed method of ritual slaughter of all animals excluding fish and
          most sea-life per Shari’ah. This method of slaughtering animals consists of a swift, deep
          incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of
          both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact

          Which means nerves to the brain register pain? I’ve watched this ritual and more often than not,
          the slaughter-men have to make multiple cuts and animals are left with gaping wounds, taking a
          long time to die whilst in obvious agony.

          Other aspects inflict pain and terror but that’s not the discussion here. That you should find any
          redeeming features in Islam’s halal killing methods is disappointing. Allah demands blood, both
          animal and human (I know, animal and human are the same biologically) and gets what he wants.
          Have a look at pictures of the festival of Eid for more cruel and appalling Islamic practices.

          • In reply to #45 by Fritz:

            You are being wilfully blind now. As I said, nearly all halal meat in the UK is pre-stunned, in just the same way as non-halal meat. They just park an imam in the slaughterhouse to say a prayer. I don’t object to that minor conceit if it makes them happy.

  9. Did anyone think to comment on the site itself?
    A little support for the Danes on the World Jewish Congress site might be appreciated.

    My reasoned comment didn’t get posted, but maybe I should have removed the call for a similar ban on child mutilation.

  10. …communities in Denmark have strongly opposed the decree

    B.F.D.

    Per DC website – well, at least they’re up front about the process. Parma de Proscuitto doesn’t magically appear on supper plates. What turned me off from eating pork, was reading about a u.s. pig farmer who inserted a metal rod into a (live) pig’s anus. Presumably from apathy, frustration.

    altid en dansker

  11. “Danish government bans kosher slaughter”

    I think the title should be “Danish government bans slaughter without stunning”. Kosher slaughter happens to be without stunning, but that is completely irrelevant.

    • In reply to #19 by Thomas Hobbes:

      “Danish government bans kosher slaughter”

      I think the title should be “Danish government bans slaughter without stunning”. Kosher slaughter happens to be without stunning, but that is completely irrelevant.

      Excellent point!

  12. The righteous indignation of the comments on their site was predictable.

    But pre-stunning, which is so often botched anyway, isn’t done anywhere as a matter of kindness to animals (they call it “humane slaughter”), but as a matter of expediency to make the job of the slaughterer easier. They couldn’t care less about the suffering of the animal.

    • _In reply to #20 by 78rpm:_Prestunning laws were effected for a more humane kill. It was promulgated as a kindness.

      Gosh why should we exhibit rigtheous indignation? After all doesn’t the famous apologist William Lane Craig tell us that animals just feel pain, they’re not aware of it.

      The righteous indignation of the comments on their site was predictable.

      But pre-stunning, which is so often botched anyway, isn’t done anywhere as a matter of kindness to animals (they call it “humane slaughter”), but as a matter of expediency to make the job of the slaughterer easier. They could…

    • In reply to #20 by 78rpm:

      But pre-stunning, which is so often botched anyway, isn’t done anywhere as a matter of kindness to animals (they call it “humane slaughter”), but as a matter of expediency to make the job of the slaughterer easier. They couldn’t care less about the suffering of the animal.

      I don’t care if it’s kindness or expediency. If the results are less horrible, for both the animal and the slaughterer, I support pre-stunning. The kindness vs. expediency question is for humans to debate as long as they want during BBQ parties. For pigs it’s irrelevant.

  13. It always amazed me that upstanding followers of the koran Muslims who insisted their meat be slaughtered Halal would think nothing of going to the market of their mortal enemy the “dirty jew” and purchase their meat there because they knew it had been slaughtered kosher.
    It’s all a matter of convenience. Pick and choose religion. Good for Denmark. I wish other “civilized” countries would follow their lead. jcw

  14. It’s good to see a stand made against the “Religious freedom” bullshit excuses. However notions of humane slaughter are another thing. Pollaxing was a method of stunning before exsanguination that was used throughout the 19th and first half 20th centuries. It has been replaced by the captured bolt device which does the same job. Read this on the practice of pollaxing,

    Positioning the animal so that it was ready for the blow was often the most difficult and traumatic part in most cases the animals head being tied to a ring bolt in the floor and the head pulled down to expose the poll. One blow to the centre of the forehead by a skilled slaughterman would cause immediate collapse and unconsciousness. A pithing cane is then inserted through the resulting hole and pushed to the medula oblongata and then agitated to destroy the brain tissue. The animal is then hoisted by its hind legs and the throat opened to sever the carotid arteries causing rapid exsanguination. Observers sympathetic to this method believed a skilled slaughterman like a professional golfer could swing with such unerring skill that the risk of missing was slight. The practice was only entrusted to the most reliable men. The sobriety of the slaughterer was sometimes an issue. In one case a slaughterer missed the animals head and struck his own leg which had to be amputated. On a visit to the Deptford abattoir it was observed that it often took five blows to fell an animal and in one macabre case an ox endured twelve minutes of torment and multiple strokes before it was put out of its misery………… a pollaxe test in 1925 of skilled men in reasonable conditions revealed an average of 2.5 blows for bulls, 1.55 for pigs and 1.27 for cows.

    • In reply to #39 by Katy Cordeth:

      In reply to #38 by phil rimmer:

      …There was never a golden age and I never fail to see solutions to our new problems.

      You’re obviously one of these people, Phil, whereas I tend to fall more into this category.

      Yes. Exactly so. But we both agree it is half. Half keeps us both going. It was once better or it yet can be.

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