The MJLC would like to express its disappointment in the strongest terms to the deeply misguided decision of the ECHR to allow for the banning of ritual slaughter without stunning all over Europe. This decision flies in the face of Europe’s fundamental values of tolerance and inclusion and has the potential to deeply impact the ability of Europe’s Muslim and Jewish communities to access Kosher and Halal meat making life in Europe more difficult and less hospitable for our communities.

MJLC Co-Chair and CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt reacted to the ruling by stating:

“This is a black day for Europe. The European Court for Human Rights has decided that animal rights are more important than human rights.

The decision of the Strasbourg Court is disappointing but not unexpected. The CER > consistently opposed joining in an action at the ECHR. What should have been left as a self inflicted wound on the Belgian Community should never have been brought to Strasbourg.

The Jewish and Muslim communities of Europe will continue to fight for religious freedoms and equality in Europe. That task is now made all the harder.”

MJLC Board Member and EULEMA Chairman Imam Yahya Pallavicini also condemned the ruling:

“As a European Muslim, I regret the misrecognition of the religious ethics that underlie some practices such as halal ritual slaughter. Its first requirement for validity is the preservation of animal welfare. Unfortunately, preventive stunning, especially for large animals, does not facilitate respect for the physical integrity of the animal.

Safeguarding and respecting nature and creation have always been foundational values of the Islamic world for centuries, values that we hope we can still contribute to in a pluralistic society.”

Bans of ritual slaughter have a long and ugly history in Europe and have historically been championed by misinformed animal rights activists and religious bigots with one of Europe’s first bans on ritual slaughter being passed by Germany in 1933 soon after Hitler’s rise to power. The former group is under the incorrect assumption that ritual slaughter causes more pain to the animal than stunned slaughter. In reality ritual slaughter, in both the Muslim and Jewish traditions, prioritises minimising the suffering of the animal. The latter group weaponises concern for animal welfare to target Muslim and Jewish communities by restricting our fundamental right to freedom of religion.

We are distressed to see a revitalisation of the movement to ban ritual slaughter, and while we hope that it comes from a misguided concern for animal welfare rather than religious discrimination the effects on our communities are much the same regardless of intent.

The MJLC will continue to fight for the right of our communities to live in Europe as equal citizens