Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick CleggReuters

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said on the weekend he disagreed with the call of the incoming president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), John Blackwell, to ban shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) and Islamic halal slaughter.

Clegg said, according to the BBC, that stopping this type of slaughter would "remove the right of Jewish communities in this country, Muslim communities in this country, to stick to their religious beliefs about how they prepare food and how animals are slaughtered."

The Jewish Chronicle quoted Clegg as having said that “no government of which I’m part” would ban shechita.

Speaking on his weekly radio phone-in, he said, “These are ancient beliefs handed down over generations. As a liberal, I believe in trying to protect that kind of diversity, not trying to quash it.”

Blackwell had 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."

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell backed Blackwell, saying that shechita is against everything Britain stands for.

“We have an accepted way of behaving in this country within the laws of these islands. That includes the correct treatment of animals. If people want to try to alter that, they should have more respect for the traditions of this country,” he said, according to The Jewish Chronicle.

“If you asked the average British citizen whether they agreed with [religious slaughter], they would say no. Why should we allow that kind of thing to go on in this country when it goes against everything that we really stand for as a people?” claimed Rosindell.

In making the statement, Blackwell jumped on the bandwagon with Poland and Denmark, both of which have similarly banned shechita.

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.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission (EC), recently assured leading rabbis that Europe would not tolerate any harm to fundamental religious Jewish rights.