Tuesday, 6 Dec 2022 - 12 of Kislev, 5783

Ritual slaughter not banned in the Brussels Capital-Region unlike in Flanders and Wallonia

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42 members of the parliament voted against the proposal to ban ritual slaughter without stunning, 38 against and 8 abstained.

The vote was welcomed by European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin who said it ‘’represents a victory for Jews in the Belgian Capital and stands in contrast to both Flanders and Wallonia where bans on Kosher slaughter are in place.’’

The Brussels regional parliament rejected Friday a proposal to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning.

42 members of the parliament voted against the proposal, 38 against and 8 abstained.

The proposal was already rejected in the environment committe last week.

The issue has divided the governing coalition. Along the two Jewish members of the Brussels parliament, one, Viviane Teitelbaum from the opposition MR liberal party, abstained, while the other, Marc Lowenstein from the Defi party which tabled the proposal, voted against it.

As a result of the vote, slaughter without stunning remains the rule in the Brussels-Capital Region, unlike two of Belgium’s other regions, Flanders and Wallonia which voted to ban it.

Shechita, the Jewish ritual slaughter, requires that butchers swiftly slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood. Religious groups claim that both Kosher and Halal slaughter, when performed correctly, can cause less pain and suffering to animals than industrial slaughter.

The vote was welcomed by European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin who said it ‘’represents a victory for Jews in the Belgian Capital and stands in contrast to both Flanders and Wallonia where bans on Kosher slaughter are in place.’’

”After a steady stream of bans across Europe that has left many communities bereft of local Kosher meat and having to shoulder the increased expenses of importing meat, we applaud this vote by Belgium’s Capital Parliament,’’ Margolin, whose Brussels-based organization represents hundreds of Jewish communities across Europe, said.

He stressed that there are few bastions left where freedom of religion is still considered a fundamental right. ‘’As a citizen of Brussels, I am proud that the capital is such a bastion. Where Brussels has led, others must now follow,’’ he added.

Under freedom of religion, which is protected by the EU as a human right, EU legislation allows exemption on religious grounds for non-stunned slaughter provided that they take place in authorised slaughterhouses.

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