Belgium: Slaughter without anesthesia contrary to the Koran, says MP
Parliament member Meyrem Almaci (Groen!) resonded in shock to the pictures published by the animal rights organization Gaia on ritually slaughtering animals without anesthesia. Gaia published pictures from eleven halal slaughterhouses in Flanders and Wallonia, showing animals being slaughtered without anesthesia.
"Slaughtering an animal in this way is contrary to the Koran," says Almaci. She asks to anesthesze animals during ritual slaughter and calls on the Muslim community to enter into a debate.
Almaci regrets the un-anesthetized slaughter of animals. "Animals are not products, but living beings. That here economic considerations figure above animal welfare is unacceptable and conflicts with the spirit of the Festival of Sacrifice [Eid al-Adha], where explicit critieria exist for slaughtering the animal," says Almaci. "So an animal can certainly not be too young, suffers the least possible pain, and a prayer said for the soul of the animal."
Almaci says the the Muslim community in Belgium should go for an animal-friendly way of ritual slaughter. She wants to anesthetize animals, following the example of Norway of the UK.
Gaia will meet with the Muslim Executive on Monday, November 30 to speak about the controversial halal slaughter. Belgian law says that animals have to be anesthetized for slaughter, but makes an exception for ritual slaughter. Gaia demands that that exemption be scrapped from the law. The minister in chage already said that legislation will be made stricter.
Gaia claims they've been flooded with expressions of support since they've published the pictures. "It is obvious that these practices are not tolerated," says the organization.
Today is the Eid al Adha holiday and Belgian municipalities have mosque organizations have prepared in advance for the mass-scale ritual slaughter. In Heusden-Zolder, for example, the municipality invested in its own slaughter place, since many people did home-slaughter last year. The municipal council originally wanted to ban home-slaughter, but that did not go through after fierce protest from the Muslims. Mayor Sonja Claes (CD&V): "I have the impression that the Muslims meanwhile know that un-anesthetized home-slaughter is not allowed. I also expect that they will keep to the rules"
Sources: HLN 1, 2, 3 (Dutch)