A new executive order regarding the ritual slaughter of animals came into force in Denmark in mid-February. The order states that ritual slaughter in the country is legal as long as the animal is stunned first. The move, which makes Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter illegal, has been highly censured by some religious groups.
European Union regulations require animals to be stunned before they are slaughtered, but grants exemptions on religious grounds. The Danish decision puts animal welfare ahead of any religious exemption.
No animals have been slaughtered in Denmark without pre-stunning over the last 10 years, The country's Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries notes that it is following in the footsteps of a number of other European countries, such as Sweden and Norway, which have similar regulations requiring the stunning of animals before slaughter.
The import of meats from animals that have been slaughtered without pre-stunning is illegal in Denmark.