June 28th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
From Eileen Hsieh, CNN
Dutch lawmakers Tuesday approved an animal-rights measure that would ban Jewish and Muslim methods of ritual slaughter, the Parliament press office said.
It must now go to the Senate for a vote, which will likely happen in September, press officer Leon Van Schie told CNN.
The Dutch Party for the Animals proposed closing a loophole in the Dutch law that allows Jews and Muslims to kill animals that have not been anesthetized first.
"The Party for the Animals believes that freedom of religion must end where animal suffering begins," leader Marianne Thieme wrote on her blog before the measure went to a vote Tuesday.
Stunning animals before butchering is not allowed by Jewish or Muslim law.
David Zwartz, the chairman of the Wellington Jewish Council, fought successfully against a similar proposal in New Zealand last year.
He said that for Jews, the Dutch measure would be "an attack on their freedom to practice their religion in a way that they have done for thousands of years."
He compared the proposal to Nazi-era laws.
"The banning of shechita was introduced as an anti-Jewish law by the Nazis in Germany three months after they came into power in 1933," said Zwartz, using the Hebrew word for Jewish ritual slaughter.
"The banning in Nazi German-occupied Poland and the Netherlands was overtly anti-Jewish, " Zwartz said.
"Freedom of religious practice is a hallmark of civilized (and most Western) societies. In New Zealand it is covered by our Bill of Rights Act. For Orthodox Jews, the eating of kosher meat is a central part of their belief," he said.
Britain's Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, traveled to the Netherlands two weeks ago to lobby against the law.
Abdulfettah Ali-Salah, the director of the Halal Correct Certification organization in the Netherlands, argued that Jewish and Muslim methods of slaughter are humane.
"They claim that ritual killing without stunning cause more pain for the animals then with stunning, but I don't agree," he told CNN.
"Many scientists even don't agree, if ritual slaughtering without stunning happens according to the right procedure," he said.
The ban could force Jews and Muslims to get their meat from other countries, he said.
"Many believers, if they are Jewish, Muslim, have to search for other alternatives - probably import from abroad and from Islamic countries," he said.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.