European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human RightsiStock

The European Court of Human Rights today (Tuesday) voted to uphold bans in Belgium on the slaughter of animals for food without first stunning them.

The court found that the bans, even though they effectively outlaw the production of kosher and halal meat, do not interfere with freedom of religion or constitute discrimination, the European Court of Human Rights rules. As a result, the bans will remain in effect in two Belgian regions.

The ruling was issued by the court in Strasbourg, France, and is final. Muslim groups filed petitions against the bans in 2019.

The European Jewish Association (EJA) released a statement saying that it "learned with deep shock about the ruling of the EU Court of Human Rights against the human rights, freedom of religion, and worship of Jews and Muslims."

"The implied determination of the distorted verdict is that the rights of these citizens to freedom of religion and worship are even less than that of animals," said EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin who warned that the severe restrictions on Jews to live according to their faith will lead to serious damage to the fabric of life throughout the continent.

The European Jewish Association called on the Belgian Government and all other governments and Parliaments throughout the continent "to immediately take all the necessary steps in order to change the ruling that discriminates against Jews and Muslims."

In a letter sent to European Heads of States, EJA’s European Leader’s Forum for Combatting Antisemitism headed by The 10th President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, and including former prominent European Heads of States: Sebastian Kurz, Manuel Valls, Matteo Renzi, Petar Stoyanov, Andrej Babiš, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, Borut Pahor, Milo Đukanović and Stefan Lofven, is calling on governments and parliaments to enact the laws that commit to maintaining the freedom of religion and worship of the continent's citizens, including kosher and Halal slaughter.