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February 17, 2014

Ban on religious slaughter of animals begins in Denmark

Halal and kosher slaughter banned, as minister says 'Animal rights come before religion'.
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Photo via Flickr user gmcmullen [Creative Commons]

Update: The Danish Ministry for Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries has released a statement addressing the new regulation on kosher and halal slaughter.

“No slaughter without pre-stunning has been registered in Denmark in the last ten years.  It is still permitted to import meat slaughtered without pre-stunning. And a very large amount of Danish meat has been – and will continue to be – halal slaughtered, with the animal stunned right before slaughter”, says Danish Agriculture and Food Minister Dan Jorgensen. 

Khalil Jaffar, an imam at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Copenhagen, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that Danish Islamic leaders issued a religious decree several years ago saying that animals stunned before slaughter were considered halal in Denmark. Danish Halal, a non-profit halal monitoring group, maintains that stunning the animal before slaughter is in contradiction to the rules of halal slaughter. Their petition against the new regulation has received 12,000 signatures. According to an announcement by Danish Halal on Tuesday, the group has a meeting with Jorgensen on Friday, and will deliver the petition at that time.

A ban on kosher and halal slaughter in Denmark began Monday. Announcing the ban last week, Danish Agriculture and Food Minister Dan Jorgensen said, "Animal rights come before religion".

Traditionally, in order to be considered kosher under Jewish law or halal under Islamic law, animals must be conscious when killed. The new rule, which follows similar regulations in other European countries, requires animals be stunned before slaughter. 

Danish Halal launched a petition condemning the ban. The group calls it "a clear interference in religious freedom limiting the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion in Denmark"

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