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  • August 2017 : ritual slaughtering

In 2011, the Dutch House of Representatives voted for the first time in its history for banning the practice of unstunned ritual slaughter in accordance to Jewish and Islamic rites. How should this remarkable vote be understood ? In order to answer this question, a critical discourse analysis has been carried out. Three discourses are discerned in the debate : ‘unstunned ritual slaughter as an outdated practice’, ‘ritual slaughter as a form of ritual torture’ and ‘unstunned ritual slaughter as a legitimate religious practice’. The growing parliamentary support for the first two mentioned discourses is related to recent changes in the Dutch political landscape. In a wider context, it is related to a shift in the national self-conception of the Netherlands and, linked to that, to a change in the perceived position of traditional religious minorities within Dutch society in the aftermath of 9/11 and the ‘Fortuyn revolt’.

Sipco J. Vellenga (2015), "Ritual Slaughter, Animal Welfare and the Freedom of Religion : A Critical Discourse Analysis of a Fierce Debate in the Dutch Lower House", Journal of Religion in Europe, 8, p. 1-25.

  • October 2012 : Draft regulation on ritual slaughter

In early October 2012, the Dutch Agriculture Minister, Henk Bleker, signed a draft regulation governing the use of ritual slaughter in the Netherlands. The decree provides for animals to be knocked out 40 seconds after having their throat slit and in particular defines the size of knife to be used. This text follows several months of discussion and attempts at regulation and ought to be submitted to the Council of Ministers by the end of the year.

In 2011, a large majority of the lower chamber of the Dutch Parliament had passed a law introduced by the Party for the Rights of Animals (PvdD), which was seeking a total ban on ritual slaughter in the Netherlands.

The senate, however, rejected this text in late 2011, arguing that the law violated the right to religious freedom. The government therefore sought a compromise between the different parties and a preliminary agreement ahead of the decree was signed in June 2012 between organizations representing Jewish (NIK) and Muslim (CMO) communities and the Association of Abattoirs and Meat Producers (VSV).

For further information, see the text of the agreement of 5 June 2012 (Convenant onbedwelmd slachten volgens religieuze riten, in Dutch)

D 4 septembre 2017   

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