The Flemish Parliament has almost unanimously decided to ban the slaughter of sheep without stunning as from January 2019. For the Party for the Animals, this is a decisive push in its own battle for a total ban on slaughter without stunning in the Netherlands. The party emphasises that there can be no excuse for animal suffering.
In the Netherlands, slaughter without stunning is permitted on the grounds of Islamic or Jewish ritual. In 2011, the Dutch Lower House adopted a private member’s bill of the Party for the Animals to ban ritual slaughter without stunning because it causes unnecessary animal suffering. However, the bill did not make it through the Dutch Senate, where a majority believed a ban on ritual slaughter is a violation of religious freedom.
Party for the Animals’ MP Esther Ouwehand believes religious freedom should never be used as an excuse for animal suffering: “Whether it is ritual slaughter without stunning, or the meat feasts at Christmas or Easter: whatever it is you are celebrating, how can animal suffering ever contribute to the festivities?”