July 24, 2017

European Jews Face New Threats to Kosher Slaughter

Amsterdam - ”There is never a dull moment,” can certainly be applied to Jews in several European Jews who constantly face threats to kosher slaughter. Rabbi Jonathan Sigal, a shochet for the small Amsterdam Jewish community often wonders why the authorities even bother to attempt to curb schechita on such a small scale. But his community faces a total cessation of schechita if a new government policy goes into effect. Apparently, the new policy states that meat may be only produced without stunning the animals, as is common in kosher slaughter, but that such meat will “not exceed the actual needs of communities present in the Netherlands.” For the kosher abattoir this will mean the loss of approximately 40 percent of its income, which it derives from export. In 2011, the Dutch lower house passed a ban on ritual slaughter with support from the Party for the Animals and the far-right Party for Freedom. But the Dutch Senate reversed the ban, arguing it was infringing on freedom of worship. Jews in Belgium are also being faced with anti-schechita legislation that would prohibit kosher slaughter unless the animals were first stunned. Facing the ever rising scourge of anti-Semitism, the renewed anti-schechita actions are extremely troubling.