Belgian province bans Jewish slaughter

Kosher and halal slaughter is officially outlawed in Belgium’s Wallonia province.

The Walloon parliament voted on Wednesday in favor of a proposed decree that prohibits the slaughter of animals without stunning, banning both kosher and Muslim halal slaughter.

Only two lawmakers in the 75-member plenum in Belgium’s largest region abstained in the vote, La Libre Belgique reported.

The Brussels Times reported the ban will take effect on June 1, 2018. The decree exempts ritual slaughter until September 1, 2019.

Wallonia is allowing the slaughter industry and religious bodies time to prepare for the impact of the new legislation until after the Muslim “Sacrifice Feast” of 2019 to be marked in August.

The bill’s proponents say provisions included in the bill’s text are likely to be able to respond to any religious concerns.

Kosher slaughtering of animals requires they be conscious when they are slaughtered — a practice that critics say is cruel, but which advocates insist is more humane than mechanized methods used in non-kosher slaughterhouses. Muslims slaughter animals in a similar method.

Similar legislation was also proposed by the Belgian regional parliament in Flanders and is expected to pass and take effect for sheep and goats on January 1, 2019.

Imports of meat do not fall within the legislation’s purview.

Philippe Markiewicz, president of the Consistoire organization of Belgian Jewry responsible for providing religious services, has previously pleaded with Walloon region lawmakers not to “repeat the Nazis’ acts.”

“The last assault on ritual slaughter was in October 1940 under the Nazi occupation because they knew how important it was for Jews,” Markiewicz said at the Parliament of Wallonia.

The Belgian Jewish umbrella body CCOJB, an affiliate of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), had earlier warned that “a country that bans Jewish and Muslim rites by making it mandatory to use an electric stunning device of doubtful efficacy […] is a country that tells Jews and Muslims that they are no longer welcome here.”

CCOJB President Yohan Benizri declared that “this indirect ban on ritual slaughter is very problematic for the Jewish community, but the matter goes beyond that group and affects those who cherish the protection of religious freedom in general.”

Benizri said there was no reasonable argument to support the measure.

These moves against Jewish ritual slaughtering in Europe are the latest in almost 150 years of combat by European countries against Jewish shechita.

By: World Israel News Staff