Although cruel for the animals, the demand for ritually slaughtered meat has skyrocketed recently. The animals are slaughtered without the legally mandatory prior stunning. They are forced to endure long minutes of agony as they are first hung up, then have their throats cut and are finally skinned alive.
The EU is unambiguous on this point: the killing of animals in slaughterhouses is regulated to limit their suffering. Sadly, this is nothing more than a convenient fiction. In reality, the EU is giving in to sectarian demands and has granted an exemption for religious rites.
The Court of Justice of the EU’s Advocate General has stated that the Flemish law prohibiting the slaughter of animals without stunning, including those subjects to particular methods of slaughter prescribed by religious rites, is not permitted under EU law. The European Union is blithely trampling on the will of Europe’s people to protect animals.
As in many areas, this decision illustrates the European institutions’ hypocrisy.
Some Muslim countries (Jordan and Indonesia) accept that animals should be stunned before slaughter, but the European Union contents itself with opposing this on paper while bowing to sectarian interests.
On 28 September 2020, Members of the European Parliament, Aurelia Beigneux, Catherine Griset and Annika Bruna of the Identity and Democracy Group tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. The MEPs requested to know if “the Commission see s animal welfare as a variable-geometry issue?”
On 18 November, Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides responded to this question on behalf of the European Commission. Commissioner Kyriakides stated that “Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union underlines the importance to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals in specific EU policies” and that “at the same time, it stresses the need to respect national provisions and customs regarding inter alia religious rites”. She also added that “Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union guarantees the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.
Commissioner Kyriakides underlined that “Against this background, the Commission believes that the current provisions regarding the protection of animals at the time of killing strike the right balance between the welfare of animals and the right to freedom of religion” and that “the Commission does not comment on cases that are pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union”.
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