A bill that would ban kosher slaughter (shechita) in the Netherlands is set to be debated in parliament soon. The European Jewish Congress (EJC) called on Dutch lawmakers to reject the planned ban as it went against the principle of freedom of religion. Shechita was permissible under European law and guaranteed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the EJC said in a statement. A ban would be the first of its kind in the 27 European Union countries.
“Holland has always presented itself as an accepting society and a ban on a central part of Jewish identity would mean that Dutch politicians are turning their backs on the tolerant Holland that we admire. While the legislation was drafted ostensibly because of animal rights concerns, it is a slippery slope to populism, extremism and anti-Semitism,” EJC President Moshe Kantor declared, adding: “We call on Dutch politicians to carefully consider the ramifications of this bill and what it could do to Jewish life in the Netherlands.”
The European Union Council in December 2010 rejected a controversial kosher meat labeling clause as part of its new Food Information Regulation. If passed, all meat and meat products that are kosher slaughtered to would have had to be labeled as “meat from slaughter without stunning.