The Netherlands is moving to implement stricter rules overseeing the religious slaughter of animals for meat consumption by observant Jews as well as for Muslims, the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry announced this week.
Once implemented, the new Dutch rules will ban the export of kosher and halal meat outside of the Netherlands, and will require all domestic religious slaughterhouses to register with the government.
Additionally, religiously slaughtered meat will have to be clearly labeled and will not be able to be sold at regular supermarket chains, according to a letter written by Junior Economic Affairs Minister Martijn van Dam and posted on the Dutch government website.
Some Jewish leaders have blasted the decision as anti-Semitic due to the restriction it places on the ability of observant Jews to follow halachic law. Others believe that such a ban is illegal under European Union law.
The Dutch move follows a similar decision taken by the Danish government. Spokesmen for both respective governments suggested, contrary to the case presented by shechita authorities, that animal rights was the main consideration.
“I find the current implementation unacceptable. Negative effects on animal welfare must be minimized,” wrote Van Dam.
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