Cruelty activists thank government for outlawing kosher slaughter.
Cruelty activists thank government for outlawing kosher slaughter.Moshe Friedman, Conference of European Rabbis

The Wallonia Parliament on Friday voted unanimously to outlaw kosher slaughter (shechita) of animals and fowl.

The new law bans any type of slaughter in which the animal is not stunned first.

Two weeks ago, Belgium Rabbi Avraham Gigi said he quoted one of the world's leading experts in the field, who said "there is no doubt that the way Europeans slaughter animals causes them pain a thousand times greater than the pain of shechita."

"Shechita has been proven to be one of the least painful methods of slaughtering an animal. Plus, anyone who watches animals being stunned, shot, or electrocuted can see for himself how the animals writhe in pain until they die.

"I proved that shechita kills the animal within seconds. I explained that the law they were about to pass is in violation of the basic human rights to which all European Union members are obligated.

"They were determined, and did not listen to any of our explanations.

"This is hypocrisy. Barbarically hunting animals for fun by siccing dogs on them after they are shot is permitted by law. Is there anything more barbaric than that?

"We will fight determinedly against the new laws and we will use every legal means available to do so."

Belgium's Jewish community responded, "Europe is still chanting, 'Jews, get out of here!' The decision to ban kosher slaughter is a call to the Jews, telling us to leave. We will fight this decision."

Conference of European Rabbis President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said, "The attack against religious freedom for Jews and Muslims is at its peak. The government is trying to up the ante of the hate wave, and the extremist parties are trying to win votes."

"If Europe turns into the Middle East in terms of its laws and lack of tolerance of various minorities, we will soon see a victory for radical Islam.

"It's very sad that in the heart of Europe, in a place which is supposed to be an example for the entire continent, the government is waging a war against the religious freedom given to minorities.

"The capital of the European Union has placed a black stain on Europe's blue skies.

"During the darkest ages, Jews sacrificed their lives to eat kosher food. It's been only seventy years since the Third Reich, with the greatest hypocrisy, banned shechita for 'humane' reasons - while it murdered in cold blood millions of Jews and destroyed all of Europe.

"We will fight together with the Belgian Jewish community against this sad decision."

The vote was previously scheduled for April 18, but was delayed after Rabbi Gigi requested to explain the Jewish stance before the vote took place.

Belgium is a federation consisting of three provinces, Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. The Wallonia province numbers 3.5 million people representing 33% of all Belgian citizens.