Latvia: Halal slaughter legalized

Latvia: Halal slaughter legalized

Sweden gets its halal chicken from Denmark, now a Latvian company intends to sell Sweden halal beef.


The Latvian parliament recently enacted controversial legislation in the animal welfare law, which legalizes halal and kosher slaughter. The meat will be exported to Sweden.

With a narrow majority the Latvian parliament, the Saeima, decided to implement an adaptation of the Animal Welfare law, which makes it legal to ritually slaughter animals. This method means that the animal isn't stunned before its throat is cut and the animal bleeds to death.

About 300 people protested outside the Saeima with the Animal SOS organization, which thinks the method is inhumane. In Sweden the method is not allowed, but Vents Armands Krauklis of the conservative Latvian People's Party think that exporting the meat to Sweden can help Latvia's crisis-hit finances.

"This is necessary when there's an economic crisis," said Kraulik, who had trouble making himself heard during a break, surrounded by the demonstrators.

Krauklis is the one who pushed hardest for the legislation, which was enacted after only two meetings. In the past this has only occurred when a quick decision was absolutely essential.

Several demonstrators thought it was peculiar that the legislation was called for by a private company and not by Muslim or Jewish groups. The CEO of the company is a party member of Krauklis, and demonstrators accused the member of corruption.

"We think he's just using the crisis as an excuse," said a demonstrator.

The organizers Animals SOS, emphasized that their protest didn't have racist motives, but only animal rights. Despite this, there was a poster among the demonstrators of Latvia squeezed between a Star of David and an Islamic crescent.

"That man is not with us. We tried to get him to go but he refuses. We are against cruelty to animals, not religion," said Laura Karnite of Animals SOS to Swedish newspaper Arbetaren.

Source: Tidningen Arbetaren (Swedish)

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