Denmark Bans Religious Slaughter of Animals. Minister Says “Animal Rights Come Before Religion.”

Denmark Bans Religious Slaughter of Animals. Minister Says “Animal Rights Come Before Religion.” February 18, 2014

Denmark’s government has banned the religious killing of animals for the production of halal and kosher meat.

The move has been labeled “a clear interference in religious freedom,” by the non-profit group Halal, while Jewish leaders are calling it “anti-Semitism.”

Israel’s deputy minister of religious services, Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan said, “European anti-Semitism is showing its true colors.” The Danish group Halal, said it was a “clear interference in religious freedom limiting the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion in Denmark.”

The predictable blog posts labeling Jewish and Muslim opposition to the move as “much ado about nothing much” and just more religious overreaction have already started.

It’s seems ironic to me that Denmark euthanizes people and, lately, giraffes.

From The Independent:

Denmark’s government has brought in a ban on the religious slaughter of animals for the production of halal and kosher meat, after years of campaigning from welfare activists.

 The change to the law, announced last week and effective as of yesterday, has been called “anti-Semitism” by Jewish leaders and “a clear interference in religious freedom” by the non-profit group Danish Halal.

European regulations require animals to be stunned before they are slaughtered, but grants exemptions on religious grounds. For meat to be considered kosher under Jewish law or halal under Islamic law, the animal must be conscious when killed.

Yet defending his government’s decision to remove this exemption, the minister for agriculture and food Dan Jørgensen told Denmark’s TV2 that “animal rights come before religion”.


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21 responses to “Denmark Bans Religious Slaughter of Animals. Minister Says “Animal Rights Come Before Religion.””

  1. This is another bull shit attack on religion. Has Denmark banned all meat, or more precisely the slaughter of all animals? I assume no. Then there is no rational reason for banning the killing of animals as part of a religious ritual or for sale at the supermarket. Good point that Denmark euthanizes people and slaughtered a giraffe for the general public to witness. This is purely an attack on religion. Period.

    • There is. European regulations demand the minimum of suffering for animals, and if you had any idea what a badly managed slaughterhouse can be like (and what a horrible precedent it is to take home in the evenings, having spent all day abusing animals and revelling in their suffering), I suspect you would be horrified. Halal and Kosher rules demand that the animal should be conscious while it bleeds to death; would you allow anyone to kill a dog or a cat like that? No? Then there is no reason why a sheep or a cow should.

      • I fail to see how a bolt gun to the head (Beef industry standard) is any more or less humane than a knife to the throat. Honestly the knife is probably less traumatic. It sometimes takes multiple shots with the bolt gun to get through a cow skull. The knife is kept razor sharp, and a kosher/halal slaughter requires that it be done in a single, clean, stroke.

      • I understand, and my compassion for animals is immense. However, we are meat eaters, and websites claim that it’s extremely humane in that the animal dies in two seconds (for Kosher). I assume that’s if it’s done properly. But you certainly have me wavering. Still people have a right to their religious practices. By closing one off one religion you are putting all attacking all.

  2. In the mind of the nonbeliever, animal rights truly are more important than religion. So are human rights.

    The right to practice one’s religion is a human right and human right supersede animal rights. It’s only when conflicting human rights require a utilitarian resolution that religion may not be as important as the opposing interest.

    Besides, Judaism has as one of the few laws that it considers as applicable to everyone that one should not be cruel to animals. Its ritual specifically provides for the humane treatment and slaughter of the animal.

    • Human rights and animal rights clash and interfere pretty constantly. For example, in many countries, testing of products on animals is heavily regulated and the testing of, say, cosmetics on animals is outright banned. This would interfere pretty heavily with, say, the claim that animals are property, would it not?

  3. You know, I do have serious doubts about this. The details of kosher and halal slaughter are so revolting that I can hardly feel sympathetic to the demand that they should be left intact on religious grounds. Religious freedom is not an absolute; nobody, for instance, could think of resurrecting Aztec paganism, with its underlay of cannibalism. On the whole, my concession on this matter has to be regarded as reluctant. I would allow kosher slaughter on religious grounds, but I can see the Danes’ reason for doing otherwise.

      • The best of your knowledge is pretty bad, then. To give one revolting but scientifically firm detail, coprolites from ancient Mexico show remains of digested human flesh.

        • -The best of your knowledge is pretty bad, then.
          Or you just misunderstood me. 😉

          I was referring to the modern (quite alive) religious tradition. Many cultures around the world that once practiced cannibalism have left the practice behind, the modern remnants of the Aztec traditions would be one such example.

          • In that case, it is wholly irrelevant to what I said. REmember that this thread started with me saying that religious freedom is not an absolute because we would not admit human sacrifice (with, for instance, the Carthaginians) or sacred incest (with the Zoroastrians – although the modern ones deny it). I was speaking of the historical horrors that have happened in temples and sacred spaces.

  4. More Jewish discrimination, this time banning an ancient tradition? I have a feeling, though really don’t know, that the kosher slaughter of an animal is no more cruel than the approved method mentioned. Knowing nothing about Islamic tradition, I will assume that their method is also no more cruel than the “legal” method approved by the EU. Yes, this hits hard at religious tradition.

  5. Sex with animals is legal in Denmark and there are brothels for this. Government should solve these issues first to talk about animal rights.

    • I believe the idea is that as long as the animal is not caused pain or damage the act is not illegal. I am very ashamed to say that I just found out that the same is true in Italy. Apparently there is a Bill in Parliament to correct this, but the near-breakdown of Italian politics since the last days of Berlusconi makes me suspect it might take a long time to be enacted.

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