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Poultry Processing & Slaughter

Netherlands to ban kosher and halal poultry slaughter?

November 7, 2011

Traditional kosher and halal slaughter, including poultry, may become illegal in the Netherlands under legislation due to be adopted before the end of the year, reports the BBC.

This would not mean that halal and kosher meat would no longer be available, but simply that animals could not be slaughtered according to halal or kosher rules, and that they must be stunned prior to slaughter. Meat complying with traditional kosher or halal rules would have to be imported.

The proposed legislation has drawn support from political parties that could be considered as making odd bedfellows. It seems a little odd to me that if the legislation is adopted, it will still be possible to sell meat that has come from animals slaughtered following halal and kosher traditions, meaning that the impact on animal welfare will be minimal.

Of course some animals are indeed stunned prior to having their throats cut and the resultant meat labelled halal, although there is debate as to whether this is acceptable. And some argue that a swift cut to the throat is more welfare friendly than stunning.

If halal and kosher are deemed to be a problem from an animal welfare perspective, would not such a move simply push the problem across the border to other countries? And would this not result in more animals and birds being slaughtered using these methods in those countries?

Far be it from me so say whether these methods are right or wrong, but it seems a little like the attempts to introduce levies on certain financial transactions. Unless adopted universally or by a significantly large group, the activity in question simply moves somewhere else. 

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