Animal Welfare or Veiled Racism?

The Dutch government is close to banning Jewish and Islamic ritual slaughter of livestock, raising the ire of religious groups in Europe.

A majority of the Dutch parliament is in support of a law that would ban ritual slaughter of food animals for animal welfare reasons. Both Kosher and Halal slaughtering methods require that an animal be bled to death without being stunned first. Most livestock animals are stunned with a device such as a captive bolt gun that renders the animal senseless before it is killed.

Groups advocating for animal welfare in Europe support the ban because they say that killing an animal without stunning it first is cruel.

Jewish and Islamic groups make the argument that there is no scientific basis for the conclusion that ritual slaughter is more cruel than the standard European method of stunning before slaughter. They say that this is an infringement on their rights to practice their religion, while proponents of the bill say that the welfare of animals trumps religious practices.

Bills like this one bring together an interesting coalition of those who see ritual slaughter as “cruel and barbaric” with those who see the situation as an opportunity to defame religious and ethnic minorities and immigrants. Right-wing anti-immigration groups are in support of the ban and it’s hard to believe their real concern is for the feelings of livestock.

When debating an issue that involves religion, immigration, and animal welfare the vitriol and hyperbole reach a fever pitch very early in the conversation. Commentators have made two high profile comparisons to Nazi Germany, one going so far as to say that labeling Kosher meat amounts to a yellow star on food.

The idea that slaughter is ever “humane” or kind is and has always been a myth. Slaughter is slaughter; flesh is flesh. Labeling one kind of slaughter as humane and another as barbaric only serves to appease the consciences of some meat eaters. It doesn’t help the animals; it simply gives an empty sense of moral superiority to some people and allows them to vilify others.

Jewish and Muslim groups in Holland are right to say that banning ritual slaughter is religious discrimination. Additionally the ban would be completely pointless to the animals killed.

At best the advocates of this ban are misguided in their belief that banning ritual slaughter will mean less misery for the animals killed, at worst they’re pushing a thinly-veiled racist agenda that uses concern for animals as a tool to paint immigrants and religious minorities as cold-hearted and bloodthirsty.

If the Dutch parliament really wants to end animal suffering they would work to end all animal agriculture. The only real way to improve the lives of animals is to end their exploitation as a whole. But no politician would ever go that far.

Islamophobia and antisemitism aren’t an acceptable alternative to meaningful animal rights reform. Selectively banning some kinds of slaughter on the basis of animal welfare only reveals how little politicians know about animal agriculture and how little they care about religious tolerance.

Related Stories: 

Rights or Wrongs

England Outraged Over “Secret” Method of Animal Slaughter

Abolition or Regulation? New Book on the Animal Rights Debate


Photo: Lambs near Epwell Grounds Farm (Chris Beach) / CC BY-SA 2.0


Pego R.
Pego R7 years ago

What has this to do with the Dutch Halal?

Bibi Sarangabataanan

Its solved.

OKAYAMA, Japan -- Just in time for summer grilling: Japanese scientists say they have created synthetic meat derived from human excrement.

The news that Mitsuyuki Ikeda, of Okayama Laboratory, perfected the meat streaked across the Internet. Whether or not the whole breakthrough is a crafty online hoax remains to be seen. But if it's true, the finding -- albeit disgusting -- could have some big implications on food of the future.

A now-viral video examining the purported breakthrough -- dubbed "poop burger" -- said the synthetic meat could be an answer to the high cost and environmental damage of industrial meat production.

Ikeda and fellow researchers claim to have extracted protein from raw sewage to create the meat and added food coloring to make it appear red.

Early taste tests say the meat tastes like beef.

Pego R.
Pego R7 years ago


I think you've been led well off the topic

Pego R.
Pego R7 years ago

All these questions have been researched and compiled with a link I've given here earlier.

The answers to your questions are under the links below;

Done correctly, (the major operative statement) Captive bolt is instant.

Dr. Grandin also wrote up recommendations for the ritual slaughterhouse that PETA made their video of horribleness at and her letter shows both that these places are (thank goodness) not normally horrible and that there are simple measures by which both ritual groups can insure that humane treatment was kept to throughout the process.

Louis F.
Louis Fournier7 years ago

RE: How long before an animal is unconscious when a piston is used---if its done properly? A "few" seconds, over a minute or instantaneously?

It depends on the poison, the amount, andf the health of the animal. It could take minutes, hours, days, or longer for the poison to kill the animal. It's hardly ever "instantaneous"!

Karrie M.
Karrie M.7 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but what I know about Kosher slaughter is that the animal DOES NOT bleed to death but is rather killed instantly then the blood is drained from the animal. The whole purpose of Kosher slaughter is not to frighten the animal before it dies so that toxins will not be released into the animal's meat. Can anyone prove this incorrect?

Bibi Sarangabataanan

How long before an animal is unconscious when a piston is used---if its done properly? A "few" seconds, over a minute or instantaneously?

Adam G.
Adam G7 years ago

as long as the cut is done properly- fast & deep, no "sawing" or shallow cats that need to be repeated to get to the arteries, the animal is unconscious within a few seconds.

Scott Freewheeler

Halal slaughter is a commandment of God and it would not be correct to pick and chose which commandments to obey and which to ignore.

There are scientific reasons for this particular method. A scholar, biologist or nutritionist could give many reasons. I only know that blood is poisonous. It is at least 2% urea which is a powerful toxin that the human body goes to great lengths to excrete. Also it will contain high levels of adrenaline which is a natural but addictive drug. There are other harmful waste substances in blood which are being transported for excretion.

This is one of several reasons why my Jewish brethren and I [Muslim] will not eat pork; swine have no neck to make the crucial incision which can quickly drain the blood from the flesh.

One aim of ‘satanic ritual magic’ (among other evils) is to create such terror in the one to be ‘sacrificed’ that the blood becomes a drug which they drink. I am sure I do not wish to share any of their filthy habits.

God’s Wisdom is beyond compare. Humans do not have all the answers to life’s mysteries. We cannot even deduce who are own mother is; we rely on her testimony and authority. Some of us have chosen to submit to religion because in our hearts, we see this is as our best course.

Please do not deny us this right; especially while there are so many appalling definite and obvious cruelties with no reason at all that are not yet addressed.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan7 years ago

It isn't about religion, it is about animal welfare.If you disagree with one part of a religion it doesn't mean that you hate that religion as a whole.