Rabbi Yair Melchior, rabbi of the city of Copenhagen, spoke to IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal) on Sunday about Denmark’s recent decision to ban kosher slaughter (shechita).
Rabbi Melchior noted that the decision to ban kosher slaughter was made by a single member of government – Minister of Agriculture Dan Jorgensen. Minister Jorgensen is relatively new, he noted.
The Jewish community sought a meeting with the minister to discuss the matter prior to his decision, Rabbi Melchior said, but Jorgensen went ahead with the ban without meeting religious leaders.
The decision is expected to have little effect on daily life for Denmark’s Jews, as there are currently no kosher slaughterhouses in the country. However, the ban could have a practical impact in the future if there are problems importing meat, Rabbi Melchior noted.
In addition, he said, the ban could influence other European countries to institute similar bans on kosher slaughter.
Rabbi Melchior warned against accusing Denmark’s government, or Minister Jorgensen, of anti-Semitism. “It is definitely not anti-Semitism. This minister is known for his animal rights activism,” he said.
“To say ‘anti-Semitism’ is not only inaccurate, it hurts the cause,” he added.
Denmark’s Jews are planning to appeal the ban, he announced. The Jewish community will argue that in a case in which there is an apparent conflict between values – in this case, religious freedom and animal rights – it is not right for one minister to make decisions alone.