New York NY, June 6, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed yesterday's agreement between the Dutch government and the Jewish and Muslim communities of the Netherlands to protect religious freedom for kosher and halal slaughter while improving animal welfare.
The agreement, signed by Deputy Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker and Jewish and Muslim leaders, upholds the exceptions for kosher and halal slaughter. Current law allows religious exceptions to the requirement that all animals be stunned before slaughter, but those exceptions had been challenged with a bill by the Party for the Animals (PvdD) passed in the lower house of the Dutch parliament in June 2011.
"Even when the stated purpose is animal welfare, any attempt to ban kosher or halal slaughter is an assault on religious freedom," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This agreement demonstrates that creative compromises are possible that protect religious freedom while promoting animal welfare. We congratulate the Dutch government and the Jewish and Muslim religious leaders on finding a responsible resolution to the misguided legislation proposed by the Party for the Animals."
Under the agreement, slaughter without stunning is permissible in the Netherlands as long as the animal is unconscious within 40 seconds after its neck artery is cut. If the animal is still conscious after 40 seconds, the agreement requires that it be mechanically stunned.
ADL previously condemned the vote in the lower house of the Dutch parliament approving the initiative.