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Belgium bans halal and kosher animal slaughter

A ban on kosher and halal slaughter has come into effect in the Flanders region of Belgium unless the animal is stunned before it is killed. 

It comes after legislation prohibiting animal slaughter without pre-stunning was passed in the nation's parliament in July 2017. 

The northern region of Flanders is the first in Belgium to implement the ban, with the legislation coming into effect on New Year's Day.

Similar restrictions will be in place in the southern Wallonia region from September.

The law was branded the "greatest assault on Jewish religious rights in Belgium since the Nazi occupation" by the European Jewish Congress in May 2017, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

Both the Muslim halal and Jewish kosher rituals require that the animal is butchered by slitting its throat and draining the blood. 

Under the new law, animals will have to be stunned electrically before being killed.

Belgium's Muslim and Jewish communities have expressed opposition to the law, with several religious organisations filing lawsuits to stop the new legislation, MailOnline reported. 

These include the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organisations, the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.
It is hoped the lawsuits might still light the ban later this year.

Countries including Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand already prohibit unstunned slaughter.

(Evening Standard)

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