EU court ruling paves way for kosher slaughter ban

“Simply put, beast takes preference over man,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that government officials can ban livestock slaughter on animals that have not been stunned, paving the way for a de jure ban on kosher slaughter.

The court ruled in favor of a district in Belgium’s Flemish region, which forbade slaughter that does not stun animals. kosher and Halal slaughter do not permit animals to be stunned, so the law effectively means that the religious methods cannot be used in slaughterhouses.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded to the ruling in a statement, calling it “a harsh message to all European Jewry.”

“Beyond the fact that this decision harms the freedom of worship and religion in Europe, a core value of the EU, it also signals to Jewish communities that the Jewish way of life is unwanted in Europe,” the ministry said.

“This is a sad day for European Jewry. For decades now, as animal rights have come into vogue, kosher slaughter has come under relentless attack, and subject to repeated attempts to ban it,” said European Jewish Association chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin in a statement.

“What today’s ruling does is put animal welfare above the fundamental right of freedom of religion. Simply put, beast takes preference over man,” he said.

He called the argument that kosher slaughter is less humane an “entirely bogus premise.”

“What a terrible message to send to European Jewry, that you and your practices are not welcome here. This is a basic denial of our rights as European citizens,” said Margolin.

The Conference of European Rabbis said in a statement, “The bans have already had a devastating impact on the Belgian Jewish community, causing supply shortages during the pandemic, and we are all very aware of the precedent this sets which challenges our rights to practice our religion.”

“Europe needs to reflect on the type of continent it wants to be. If values like freedom of religion and true diversity are integral, than the current system of law does not reflect that and needs to be urgently reviewed.”

“We are appalled and disappointed by the Court’s decision to allow EU member states to persecute religious minorities by banning these sacred traditions,” said Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project, in a statement.

“This is a direct violation of civil rights and will bar millions of Jews and Muslims from exercising religious freedom. The CJEU’s ruling is in direct opposition to the opinion of its own Advocate General, issued in September, which clearly articulated the importance of preserving the rights of Jews and Muslims to practice our centuries-old traditions,” Goldstein said.

Batya Ungar-Sargon, an editor at The Forward, tweeted, “75 years after 70,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from Belgium and half of them exterminated, Belgium – with the blessing of the EU court – seems willing to relinquish its Jews once again by outlawing the Jewish religion. Europe is regressing.”

Animal rights activists celebrated the decision.

“Today is a great day… for the hundreds of thousands of animals who, thanks to this decision, will be spared the hellish pains of slaughter without stunning for religious purposes,” said Michel Vandenbosch, an activist from animal rights group GAIA.

“For me, after more than 25 years of relentless struggle… this is one of the happiest days of my life.”