A BAN on the Muslim and Jewish ways of slaughtering animals has led to a big debate over the reasons for Belgium’s new rules.
The country’s new law says that all animals have to be stunned before they are killed. Previously, the halal and shechita methods of killing often meant that animals were conscious at the time of death.
Although some Muslims and Jews are okay with animals being stunned first, more strictly religious people say that stunning goes against their religion. That’s why many Muslims and Jews in Belgium have seen the new law as an attack on their religions.
However, animal rights campaigners say that preventing the suffering of animals is more important. From 1 January, slaughter without stunning became illegal in Flanders, the northern half of Belgium.
A similar law will cover the southern Wallonia region from the end of August, although both laws are being challenged in court. In the UK, halal and shechita slaughtering are both legal.
John Fishwick, Senior Vice President at the British Veterinary Association (BVA), says: “BVA would like to see all animals stunned before slaughter and this call has received widespread support from the veterinary profession and general public, including a petition with over 120,000 signatures.
Our focus on this has nothing to do with the expression of religious beliefs, but is about finding ways to reduce the welfare harm of non-stun slaughter. If slaughter without stunning continues to be permitted in the UK, then meat and fish from this source must be clearly labelled, to help customers make informed choices.”
What do you think?