Daily Israel Report

Britain's Top Vet Calls For Shechita Ban

Britain may join Poland and Denmark in banning ritual slaughter for 'cruelty,' announces veterinary association president.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/6/2014, 8:31 PM

Shechita kosher slaughter
Shechita kosher slaughter
Flash 90

The incoming president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), John Blackwell, on Thursday called for shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) to be banned. Islamic hallal slaughter was included in Blackwell's culinary crusade against "cruelty" to animals.

Speaking to the British newspaper The Times, Blackwell opined that animals should be stunned unconscious before having their throats cut. The British vet claimed the animals "will feel the cut. They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck. They will perceive the aspiration of blood they will breathe in before they lose consciousness."

Former Chief Rabbi of England Jonathan Sacks spoke at the British House of Lords on the issue in January, where he argued shechita "is designed to minimize animal pain. ...Pre-stunning by captive bolt...often fails at the first attempt. According to the European Food Safety Authority’s report in 2004, the failure of penetrating and non-penetrating captive bolts affects around 10 million animals, causing the animal grave distress."

Stunning damages various body parts and causes hemhorraging, preventing removal of the blood as required by Judaism, and thereby rendering the meat un-kosher.

Joining the Polish and Danish bandwagon

If Jews and Muslims refuse to abandon their religious practices, Blackwell threatened the state would get involved by imposing a ban. In making the statement, Blackwell jumped on the bandwagon with Poland and Denmark, both of which have similarly banned shechita.

"The Danish unilateral banning (was done) purely for animal welfare reasons, which is right," claimed Blackwell. "We may well have to go down that route. It would be more productive if we can have a meeting of minds rather than to say, 'you can't do it'. A ban may be the only way to move the issue forward."

The Danish ban was slammed by MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) for hypocrisy. She noted that the Knesset considered banning fur imports in 2010. Denmark, "who kills the world's largest animals for fur on a regular basis, warned Israel against being the 'light unto the nations,' saying that a ban would begin a 'slippery slope' [for bans in other countries]," noted Shaked.

Blackwell's calls for a ban have come in for criticism from British Muslims.

The Ramadhan Foundation's chief executive Mohammed Shafiq announced "the Muslim and Jewish communities are uniting to take on the bigoted campaign that is trying to ban our right to practice our faith in regards to halal and kosher meat."

"Some may claim it is about animal welfare but Jews and Muslims know this is an excuse for racism and bigotry," continued Shafiq.