A Belgian court on Thursday upheld a ruling permitting a sweeping ban on Jewish and Islamic traditional slaughter in two regions of Belgium.
The Belgian Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld the December 2020 ruling of the European Court of Justice’s verdict on bans against religious slaughter in Wallonia and Flanders, rejecting claims that the bans violated religious rights.
Under the laws passed in Wallonia and Flanders, animal slaughter may not be carried out without stunning prior to the slaughter – a requirement which effectively bars traditional Jewish and Muslim slaughter.
The Conference of European Rabbis lamented the court’s ruling, saying that the ban on traditional Jewish slaughter sent a “clear message about how Jews are regarded in Belgium”.
“Whilst we are disappointed with today’s judgment, we are certainly not surprised as it upholds the status quo in Belgium. This ruling confirms the ban religious slaughter and brings Belgium into line with those few other countries whose bans on Shechita date from the Nazi era,” said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the CER.
“Removing the Jewish community’s ability to be self-sufficient sends a clear message about how Jews are regarded within Belgium and how the authorities see their future. The impact is immense and the effect detrimental to Belgian Jews. Now that the legal process has concluded, we hope that parliamentarians will meaningfully engage with religious communities and it is our hope that Shechita can be restored throughout Belgian soon.”