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Jewish groups decry EU ritual slaughter ruling

Jewish groups decry today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that authorities can order animals be stunned before slaughter, charging that it attacks religious freedom.

The court backed a regulation imposed in the Flemish region of Belgium banning the slaughter of livestock that have not been stunned on animal rights grounds. The measure is seen as effectively outlawing the Muslim halal and Jewish kosher traditions, which require livestock to be conscious when their throats are slit.

An umbrella organization for Jewish groups in Belgium slams the decision as a “denial of democracy” that does not respect the rights of minority groups.

“The fight continues, and we will not admit defeat until we have exhausted all our legal remedies, which is not yet the case,” says Yohan Benizri, head of the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association, says the ruling represents a “sad day for European Jewry.”

“What a terrible message to send to European Jewry, that you and your practices are not welcome here. This is a basic denial of our rights as European citizens,” he says in a statement.

— with AFP

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