The Brussels Regional Parliament voted on Friday against a ban on Shechita (kosher slaughter), the Jewish Chronicle reported.
On June 9, a parliamentary committee voted to reject a ban on ritual slaughter proposed by Brussels Minister for Animal Welfare, Bernard Clerfayt.
On Friday, the parliament’s general assembly voted to support that decision by 42 to 38. There were eight abstentions.
Kosher slaughter is already illegal in Wallonia and Flanders, Belgium’s two other regions, where the Jewish population has resorted to importing meat.
This past September, a Belgian court upheld a 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 both traditional Jewish and Muslim slaughter.
Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), welcomed Friday’s vote in the Brussels Regional Parliament.
“We stand in full agreement with the ruling of the Brussels Parliament, declaring Shechita and Halal to be legal. The bans on non-stunned slaughter enacted in the Belgium regions of Flanders and Wallonia in 2020 prohibited Shechita and Halal, blatantly trampling on the religious freedoms of the Jewish and Muslim communities, hundreds of thousands of Belgium citizens,” he said.
“These unsolicited bans have a dark historical precedent; rather than ushering in a future of increased animal welfare, these alarmingly legislative prohibitions are instead a harsh, destructive step backwards. The law should never be used as an unsolicited weapon against religious communities. The vote of the Brussels regional Parliament on Friday, declaring that these religious methods of slaughter are not illegal thereby restores such religious rights in the country. We pay tribute to Chief Rabbi Guigui and Rabbi Bruno Fiszon for their efforts,” added Rabbi Goldschmidt.
Shimon Cohen, the Campaign Director of Shechita UK, said in response to Friday’s vote that the assembly had “stood for religious freedoms” in a rebuke to those who sought to ban the practice.
“We welcome the Brussels Parliament vote to maintain Shechita in the region and pay tribute to Chief Rabbi Guigui for his efforts. Previous bans in Wallonia and Flanders greatly inhibited the religious Jewish communities in those areas, blatantly and worryingly disregarding their religious freedoms,” added Cohen.
“In order for a country to be said to value and adhere to human rights, they must, by definition, allow Jewish religious communities to maintain their religious lifestyle.”
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)