- Category: News
- Created on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 13:55
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Members of the Upper House voted against a compromise deal that would have allowed the practice to continue provided the animals lost consciousness within 40 seconds. Any longer would be deemed as causing unnecessary suffering and entitle a veterinary surgeon to step in.
The covenant, brokered by agriculture minister Henk Bleker, was the outcome of months of negotiations with Jewish and Muslim organisations. They argue that an outright ban on slaughtering animals without stunning them first would violate their religious freedoms.
The Dutch-Israeli Church Council (NIK), the Contact Group for Muslims and Government (CMO) and the Association of Slaughterhouses and Meat Producers (VSV) all signed up to the covenant with Bleker.
It was opposed by Thieme’s party, who said it would be ineffective, as well as the Dutch rabbinical council, who were not involved in the negotiations and said the decision had been made behind their backs.
The Netherlands' only kosher butcher, Marcus, in Amsterdam, has threatened to challenge the covenant in the courts if Parliament legislates against ritual slaughter without anaesthetic.
After the proposal was defeated by 51 votes to 21, Thieme told NRC Handelsblad: “The covenant is a gentleman’s agreement that could be torn up by any of the parties at any time. The junior minister came to a compromise that suited nobody.
“There is nothing for animal activists in the accord and rabbis are equally unsatisfied with the outcome.
“It seems the Upper House isn’t yet ready for a ban on unanaesthetised ritual slaughter. But I’m not going to be deterred.
“I will go back to the Lower House with a new proposal which will take some of the Upper House’s objections into account. In the meantime the senators should think hard about unanaesthetised ritual slaughter, because the debate in society goes on.”
The Lower House approved Thieme’s proposed law last year, but it was blocked by senators amid concerns that it restricted religious freedom.
Members of the Upper House have come under sustained pressure from Muslim and Jewish community leaders, who say the law would effectively ban halal and kosher meat.