Dutch Compromise on Ritual Slaughter

Cairo, Egypt - Seeking to satisfy Muslims, Jews and animal rights activists, the Dutch government is planning to appoint a commission to study the new rules for ritual slaughter, the Jewish Tribune reported.

"This decision is a clear victory for common sense, tolerance and freedom of religion," said Rabbi Arye Goldberg, deputy director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), an organization representing more than 700 rabbis and Jewish communities throughout Europe.

"We are grateful to those Dutch politicians who helped us defeat a very problematic bill that could have had a very significant effect on traditional Jewish life in the Netherlands."

A proposed compromise was presented by Henk Bleker, Dutch deputy agriculture and environment minister, to ease the furor on ritual slaughter in the Netherlands.

It calls for agreements with slaughterhouses and the Islamic and Jewish communities over permissible slaughter practices.

The appointed commission will draw up standards on how animals can remain conscious and on educating slaughterers. It will also include registration and quality requirements for slaughterhouses.

Last June, the Dutch parliament voted in favor of banning the ritual slaughter of animals, to the anger of Muslim and Jewish minorities in the European country.

Though the amended legislation, submitted by a pro-animal party the Party for Animals (PvdD), passed the parliamentary vote, members of the Dutch Senate have announced that they would vote against the bill.

A few days before the Senate vote, PvdD leader Marriane Thieme pulled the bill after a majority of members of the Dutch Senate decided to withdraw their support for the ban on ritual slaughter.

According to the Islamic and Jewish ritual, the animal is slaughtered by a sharp blade.

Of the 500 million animals slaughtered annually for food in the Netherlands, only 1.2 million animals are slaughtered according to Muslim or Jewish traditions, Dutch statistics show.

Muslim scholars agree that Shari`ah provides a divine law of mercy that should be applied on all Allah’s creations, including animals.

Islam also provides details about avoiding any unnecessary pain.

Muslims make up one million of the Netherlands’s 16 million population, mostly from Turkish and Moroccan origin.

Dutch Jews number around 50,000.