The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has denounced an EU court decision upholding the banning of religious ritual slaughter.
“This is not a matter of animal welfare, but the suppression of religious freedom and liberty,” WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said.
The September 30 appellate decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union allowing Belgium – and by extension other EU member states – to ban religious ritual slaughter without pre-stunning was described by Lauder as a “continued maneuver to discriminate against Belgium’s Jewish and Muslim citizens.”
“By prohibiting religious slaughter without stunning, the Court of Justice of the European Union has placed a potentially terminal obstacle to continued Jewish communal life in Europe,” he said. “This is not a matter of animal welfare, but the suppression of religious freedom and liberty that is guaranteed in Article 10(1) of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.”
The court’s decision upheld 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.
“As anti-Semitism continues to surge in Europe and around the world, we cannot let instances of religious persecution like this go unchallenged. The European Union must reverse this ill-advised decision so that Jews, and other minority religions, can practice their beliefs without restrictions,” Lauder said.