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Belgian minister says there will be no ritual slaughter ban

Ben Weyts apologizes for ‘misunderstandingת’ says requirement to stun animals does not apply to religious rites

Illustrative: Ritually slaughtered meat being processed at a hallal slaughterhouse near Warsaw in 2011. (photo credit: Courtesy of Zaklady Miesne Mokobody/JTA)
Illustrative: Ritually slaughtered meat being processed at a hallal slaughterhouse near Warsaw in 2011. (photo credit: Courtesy of Zaklady Miesne Mokobody/JTA)

A Belgian minister has assured the Jewish community that kosher slaughter will continue to be allowed, months after threatening a ban that would have called the practice into question.

Ben Weyts, Belgium’s minister for animal welfare, sent a letter on Wednesday to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the director general of the European Jewish Association, apologizing for a “misunderstanding” over remarks Weyts made in September, according to a report by the European Jewish Press. Weyts had stated in September that there could be a ban on slaughter without pre-stunning of the animals, which would be at odds with both Muslim and Jewish religious law, both of which require the animal to be conscious at the time of slaughter.

In his letter, Weyts reportedly assured Margolin that “prior stunning of animals is not required in case of slaughter prescribed by religious rites. From now on this regulation will be enforced in all its aspects.”

The original dispute arose when Weyts warned that the killing of sheep by Muslims at temporary slaughterhouses for the holiday of Eid al-Fitr would be banned and that the practice put all religious slaughter at risk.

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