Brigitte Bardot, the former provocative French movie star-turned animal rights activist, has launched a campaign that would ban slaughtering procedures used by observant Jews and Muslims.
Calling the religious slaughtering procedures “Middle Age methods,” her campaign includes distributing 2,000 posters in France, displaying the head of a cow and charging that “religious ritual” requires “great suffering” for animals.
Christophe Marie, spokesman for 77-year-old Bardot, denied that the campaign is aimed at Jews and Muslims. He said the only objective is to protect rights for animals. France is home to approximately 600,000 Jews and more than five million Muslims.
Kosher slaughtering requires that the animal’s throat be slit under the supervision of rabbis, who make sure that the knife is sharp and that the animals suffer as little as possible. The method has been defended as humane to animals, but animal rights activists claim that the animal first should be stunned, an act that would make it unfit for slaughtering under Jewish and Muslim law.
Several European countries, as well as New Zealand, have suggested banning kosher slaughtering procedures. The European Union officially requires stunning but allows exceptions for religious reasons.
Switzerland has banned kosher slaughtering methods since 1893, and the method was banned under Nazi Germany until the Allied Forces' victory towards the end of World War II. Commercial kosher and halal slaughter is prohibited in Norway, but it can be performed privately for household purposes.