Per European Union regulations, animals must be stunned before they are killed in slaughterhouses. The E.U. does, however, allow member nations to exempt those who are performing religious slaughters.
A new regulation banning the religious slaughter of animals has been signed into law in Denmark.
Jewish and Muslim religious leaders residing in Denmark oppose the new law, arguing that the ban infringes upon their religious freedom.
In response, Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Minister, Dan Jorgensen, said that “animal rights come before religion.”
Denmark is a major exporter of halal meat to Arab nations. According to the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), “halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited.”
Last year, news leaked that Danes were unknowingly being served halal meat at public institutions. This sparked a nationwide debate on the ethics of animal slaughter. With pressure from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the government ultimately decided that animals must always be stunned prior to being slaughtered.
Denmark now joins several other countries, including Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland, where religious exemptions are prohibited.
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Source: National Secular Society