Tag Archives: Halal laws

Animal Rights Trump Religious Rights

The Great Synagogue, Copenhagen

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The World Jewish Congress reported late last week that the Danish Minister of Food and Agriculture, a 38 year old Social Democrat named Dan Jorgensen, had signed a regulation effectively banning the Jewish ritual slaughter of animals for food. Jorgensen explained the ban on Danish television by saying “animal rights come before religion” – or, according to another translation, “animal rights precede religious rights.”

Under the new regulation, all animal slaughter must be carried out after stunning, which is contrary to the Jewish practice of shechita, or ritual slaughter. Denmark’s Jewish community (which numbers a mere 6,000 persons) opposes the minister’s decision. The European Commissioner on Health, Tonio Borg, questioned the legality of the ban, saying that it “contradicts European law.” On the other hand, Jorgensen’s decision was acclaimed by the Animal Welfare Intergroup, of which he had been President.

If the Danish government and parliament let the decision stand, Denmark will join several other western European nations, including Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Poland and Switzerland in prohibiting such ritual slaughter. (Holland had attempted to ban shechita, but a Continue reading

French PM to Jews and Muslims: Modernize!

Very interesting story here (h/t Faithworld):

France’s prime minister urged Muslims and Jews to consider scrapping their halal and kosher slaughter laws on Monday as President Nicolas Sarkozy and his allies stepped up their efforts to woo far-right voters….

“Religions should think about keeping traditions that don’t have much in common with today’s state of science, technology and health problems,” Fillon told Europe 1 radio….

The “ancestral traditions” of ritual slaughter were justified for hygienic reasons in the past but were now outdated, he said. “We live in a modern society.”

I appreciate the persistent irritation that the Prime Minister must feel.  These are frustrating times for the agents of progress on both right and left — and, it seems, nationally and abroad.  It’s difficult to get folks to realize that modern society and contemporary science, technology, and medicine have simply eclipsed and obviated their ancient moralities and traditions.  But if we can’t persuade them, I suppose coercive law stands ready to help.