The European Jewish Congress has welcomed the Senate ratification of the agreement between the Dutch government and the Jewish and Muslim communities of the Netherlands. The agreement, ratified yesterday by the Dutch Parliament, will protect religious freedom for kosher and halal slaughter while improving animal welfare.
“This is a momentous agreement and we hope this will serve as a paradigm and precedent for all countries in Europe and the European Union,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, said. “This is a good compromise that allows freedom of religion as enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and takes into consideration animal welfare which Jewish law sees as a priority.”
The European Jewish Congress has been at the forefront of the fight against banning or curtailing Jewish religious slaughter in Holland and elsewhere in the EU. Last year in June, the Dutch Lower House approved a ban on ritual slaughter of animals. However, after much debate and lobbying by groups like the European Jewish Congress, together with the Organisation of Jewish Communities in The Netherlands and Shechita UK, the Upper House, the Senate, rejected the proposed bill. After the bill was defeated, Dutch Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Environment Henk Bleker presented a compromise which led to the agreement signed last week and ratified today.
“We can not rest on our laurels as all the time there are others who seek to harm our religious practices,” Kantor continued. “However, we express our gratitude to the Dutch Government for demonstrating that a compromise can be found which takes into account many different viewpoints and we hope that this agreement will put an end to those who seek to curtail human rights.”
“While the Jewish community is happy about the result, the Dutch sense of compromise and tolerance is the true victor in this episode.”