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Ritual slaughter

In Switzerland, kosher or halal meat has been banned since 1894. However, their import from abroad is allowed.

The question of ritual slaughter in Switzerland was addressed by the law in the late nineteenth century. In 1892, the Swiss Animal Protection Society launched a popular initiative (Switzerland being a direct democracy) to enshrine its ban in the Constitution. This proposal was accepted by the Swiss people on 20 August 1893 and took effect in 1894.

Following this, Article 25bis was then added to the Constitution:

Constitution, Art. 25bis, “It is expressly forbidden to bleed butchery animals without having previously stunned them; this provision applies to any slaughter method and any species of livestock. (See the website of the Swiss Federation of Israeli Communities).

This ban was therefore initially made on Jewish ritual slaughter, against a backdrop of anti-Semitism in the late 19th century, but also applies to Islamic ritual slaughter.

Since 1893, this ban has been the subject of numerous debates, which, in some cases have resulted in changes to the law. In particular, it will be removed from the Constitution in 1978 and incorporated into the Federal Animal Protection Act (FPA, s. 21).

LPA Art. 21 Slaughter of animals 1. Mammals may only be slaughtered if they are stunned before being bled. 2. The Federal Council may prescribe stunning for the slaughter of other animals. 3. The Federal Council specifies the permitted methods of stunning. 4. The Federal Council determines, after consultation with the professional organisations, the requirements for the training and further training of slaughterhouse personnel.

As for the import of kosher or halal meat, Section 14 of the PCPA provides sufficient supply for the religious communities concerned. Concurrently, the Ordinance on the Markets for Livestock for Slaughter and Meat (see the Swiss Federal Council page) regulates the import of halal and kosher meat according to tariff quotas granted to Jewish and Muslim communities (Art. 14 Sec. 1 lit. e and f) and according to specific conditions of sale (Art. 18a Sec. 1 bed. a and b / Art. 18 Sec. 1 and 2 / art. 18a Sec. 2 bed. b).

LPA Art. 14 Conditions, restrictions and prohibitions 1. The Federal Council may, for reasons of animal protection, make the import, transit and export of animals and animal products subject to certain conditions, restrict them or prohibit them. 2. The import of kosher meat and halal meat to ensure adequate supply of such meat to Jewish and Muslim communities is reserved. The right to import and the right to procure kosher or halal meat is reserved for members of these communities as well as for legal persons and partnerships affiliated with them.

For more information, the full article by Anaïd Lindemann as well as the article "Ritual slaughter" in the "Religions and society" section.

D 14 February 2019    AAnaïd Lindemann

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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