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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Holland's Vote on Banning Halal and Kosher Practices

In Holland a vote will take place later this month, which could see the practices of halal and kosher means of slaughtering an animal being banned. It is claimed that such practices inflict unnecessary suffering on animals. Switzerland, New Zealand, Scandinavia and Baltic countries already ban these procedures.
The practice of slaughtering an animal in accordance with halal and kosher methods, requires the animal be slaughtered while still awake by cutting the neck arteries with a sharp knife. The blood is then allowed to drain from the body while the heart is still pumping, pushing the blood out. The animal then blacks out and faints. Any movement thereafter is due to muscles contracting. The desire to drain the body of blood is because it has many diseases and is not hygienic. Stunning an animal prior to slaughter stuns the heart, preventing the blood leaving the body fully.
In light of this recent proposal, Jewish and Muslim groups have reacted angrily, calling the bill an affront to freedom of religion. Those in favour of this ban believe it is necessary to protect animals from undue suffering.
This then becomes a thorny issue. On the one hand, due to increasing awareness of animal welfare, growing numbers of people are demanding animal rights be upheld and protected. On the other hand, there is the protection of the fundamental human right to religious freedom. To suggest animal rights trump religious freedom, is not the answer. Here one moves from protecting the right of one group, to protecting the right of another group.
No doubt, legitimate animal rights campaigners are moved by their genuine concern for the ethical treatment of animals, and Muslims worldwide share this belief and concern. The fact this ban is being headed by the Right Wing Freedom Party in alliance with the Party of Animals, gives weight and credibility to the Jewish and Muslim groups' concerns, who sense sinister motives at work. If the Freedom Party was genuinely concerned with animal rights it would be dedicated in trying to end the appalling mal-treatment of battery hens. These hens are squeezed inside small cages, with up to eight or nine others for life, without exercise. They develop severe osteoporosis of intensive confinement, with many becoming paralyzed and dying of hunger. To read the full horrors of what these birds experience click here.
The Freedom Party, moved by concern and well-being for animals would be equally vociferous and condemning against France’s love of foie gras. This is the controversial practice of force-feeding duck or geese more food than they can eat, in order to fatten the liver.
Animal rights are not what is driving the vote for a ban on halal and kosher practices in Holland, it is religious intolerance. The Freedom Party headed by Geert Wilders is vehemently opposed to Islam, having previously called for the banning of the Quran and the building of new Mosques and has now aligned itself with the Animal Party in order to drive its agenda, by banning halal practices. This is not an animal rights issue, this is Islamophobia on the increase.


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