A Greek court bans Kosher and Halal slaughter. The court termed them inhumane. Notably, the court decision comes after the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation had approached it asking that a ministerial decision exempting religious slaughter from a Greek law be annulled.
Greek Court Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughter
The Hellenic Council of State, the topmost Greek judicial body announced the decision while terming these slaughter methods inhumane since under these methods animals were killed without being anesthetized.
“The court ruled that the religious preparation of animal products did not outweigh those animals’ welfare, and decided that the exemption was a violation of the law’s requirement to slaughter animals with anesthesia. The court has left it up to the government to regulate the relationship between animal rights and religious freedom, and they will preside over the country’s slaughterhouse practices”,
European Jew Association’s chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin stated that this was a direct assault on Jewish freedom of religion pointing out that the trend that began in Belgium and was subsequently adopted by Poland and Cyprus has now come to Greece. He added that institutions and governments that had vowed to protect Jewish communities are themselves attacking Jewish religious beliefs.
Religious Beliefs vs Animal Rights
Animal rights bodies have opined that animal welfare should weigh above religious concerns and hence Kosher and Halal slaughter that causes trauma to animals being killed have to be done away with.
Religious slaughter is central to both Islam and Judaism that lay down strict rules as to how and which animals can be slaughtered for food. As per Jewish laws, Kosher meat is one where the animal is killed only by a Jew. Additionally, separate vessels have to be used for meat and dairy. These two are the basic rules apart from several others to be followed as per Jewish customs.
Halal is the Arabic term for anything which is ‘permitted’ according to Islamic law as stated in the Quran. There are several rules in this form of slaughter as well, the most important of which is Islamic prayer known as Shahada has to be recited to ‘bless’ the meat and make it fit for consumption of Muslims.
The Halal method of slaughter is considered torturous and cruel by many individuals and governments in Europe and other parts of the world. The decision by the Greek court has forced Muslims to raise their voices against the ban terming it as against their religious freedom.
The ban also seems to show that Muslims have no strong voice in the country to raise their voices against their religious practices.