A Belgian region has banned halal and kosher slaughter in a move condemned as the greatest assault on Jewish religious rights since Nazi occupation.
The bill to prohibit the practice was passed unanimously by the environment committee of the Walloon Parliament in the south of the country and similar bills could be rolled out across Belgium.
Meat produced as Jewish kosher or Muslim halal require the fully-conscious animals to have their throats slit in a ritual slaughter in order to drain their blood.
The ban has drawn criticism from the religious community, who have labeled the move as ‘scandalous’.
Spy-cam footage taken back in 2015 of a halal slaughterhouse, where sheep have their throats cut without being stunned
Animal rights activists, who believe stunning the animals before killing them is more humane, will welcome the news, but both the Jewish and Muslim society have spoken out against it.
The European Jewish Congress called the law, which will be implemented by September 2019, scandalous and its president Moshe Kantor told The Independent it sends a terrible message to Jewish communities throughout Europe that Jews are unwanted.
Muslim and Jewish communities have condemned the ban as an attack on religion
‘It attacks the very core of our culture and religious practice and our status as equal citizens with equal rights in a democratic society,’ he said.
‘We call on legislators to step back from the brink of the greatest assault on Jewish religious rights in Belgium since the Nazi occupation of the country in World War Two.
Talking before the legislation was passed, the regional minister of animal welfare in the region Ben Weyts voiced his approval of the ban.
He said: ‘Unstunned slaughter is outdated.
‘In a civilised society, it is our damn duty to avoid animal suffering where possible.’
A similar ban will come into play in the Flemish region of Belgium by January 2019, stopping people killing animals before stunning them.
The Muslim community have also come out opposing the ban, with the Belgian Muslim Executive telling The Independent: ‘Muslims are worried about whether they can eat halal food in conformity with their religious rites and beliefs.’