The Danish government has introduced a ban on the religious slaughter of animals for the production of kosher and halal meat.
The ban came into effect on Monday (February 17, 2014), and was defended by Agriculture and Food Minister Dan Jørgensen's announcement on Denmark’s TV2 that “animal rights come before religion.”
Usually, slaughterhouses stun livestock before killing them, while kosher rites demand an animal is killed by slitting its throat while it is alive and letting it bleed to death. Halal meat consumed by observant Muslims is killed in a similar way.
The move has been met with opposition from non-profit halal monitoring groupDanish Halal, which has launched a petition against the ban.
It states: “The new order is a clear interference in religious freedom and limits the Muslims and Jews’ rights to practice their religion in Denmark.
“It is a procedure that is done under the guise of animal welfare, despite the fact that many scientific studies show that the animal suffers less [via a] properly performed slaughter than when it gets a blow to the head with a nail gun.”
Responding to the news, a spokesman for animal rights group PETA told HuffPost UK: "No religion needs to slaughter animals for food, and banning certain slaughter methods in which cows and other animals have their throats slit while still sensate is a step in the right direction.
"The rest of the world shouldn't feel superior, though: on factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy and windowless sheds, wire cages, crates and other confinement systems. The only diet that is open to all religions and truly respects animal rights is a vegan one."
Israel’s deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan says the Danish government's edict is anti-Semitic.
He told The Jewish Daily Forward: “European anti-Semitism is showing its true colours across Europe and is even intensifying in the government institutions.”
Denmark’s ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr described the rabbi's accusations as“very insulting”.
Written By: Sara C Nelson
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