At a landmark meeting in Poland on Tuesday, European rabbis urged Dutch senators to reject a de facto ban on kosher slaughter passed by the lower house of parliament, AFP reported.
In June, the Dutch parliament voted by a majority of 116 against 30 to ban kosher slaughter in the country. The legislation requires animals to be stunned prior to slaughter, except if it is proven that animals suffer less without first being stunned.
The proposal for the bill claimed that there is evidence that the practice of kosher slaughtering causes animals unnecessary pain and suffering. The truth, however, is that Jewish slaughter does not cause suffering.
The bill theoretically would affect Holland’s one million Muslims as well, but Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, who has been following the issue closely, told Arutz Sheva in June that a large majority of Dutch Muslims do not care whether animals are stunned and then slaughtered according to the halal laws of Islam.
While the bill does not affect the import of kosher meat, importing meat will be a major financial burden for observant Jews because of the higher cost.
The bill must be approved by the Senate and the Government Cabinet before becoming law.
“We hope that this law is not going to be ratified in the upper house and that it is not going to be accepted by the Dutch people,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, was quoted by AFP as having told reporters.
Goldschmidt added that the attempts to ban kosher slaughter sound alarm bells as similar steps were taken by Nazi Germany. He voiced fears that other Jewish religious rituals could be outlawed as well.
“The Royal Dutch Medical Association is coming up with a suggestion to ban circumcision -- something we Jews have been doing for the last 3,500 years,” he said.
He added, “They come and say: ‘you’re not only inhuman towards animals, you’re inhumane towards your own children. So basically it robs us of our religious and human dignity.”
Rabbi Goldschmidt also hailed the support of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, who had said on Monday the Dutch moves pointed to “a crisis of tolerance.”
“One of its symptoms is legislation in the Dutch parliament banning the ritual slaughter of animals, which targets the Muslim and Jewish communities,” Komorowski said in a statement.