The Organization of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, the Jewish Community of Amsterdam and the Central Jewish Board are disappointed and saddened by the adoption of the House amended the bill on unstunned slaughter.
As stated by the cabinet, we believe that the initial bill, where it concerns religious freedom, goes against the constitutional freedom. The amended bill is based on a total ban and is therefore unacceptable to the Jewish community; it is a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
Whether and to what extent the possible exemptions which could be created will, in practice allow for a real opportunity to continue kosher slaughter, is currently impossible to say and will largely depend on the directives established by the minister for Agriculture.
That permission is granted solely on the basis of scientific research but ignores the constitutional right of freedom of religion. Scientific research until now has found it impossible to assess the level of animal welfare, let alone allow humans to form a value judgment on animal welfare. It should also be noted that much of the so called scientific evidence has been proven flawed for example by mixing up different methods, including methods not acceptable by Jewish Law.
Even though there is still much debate going on, the scientific evidence requires reassessments after it came under attack in court, and the cabinet questions the quality of this bill and amendment, parliament found it necessary to rush this bill through parliament. As a gaping issue that just needed to be finished off.
We will follow the process closely. As always we are open to consult on possibilities within the framework of religion, animal welfare and practice, to allow for a continuation of the 400 years existing Jewish tradition of slaughter in the Netherlands.
• Unstunned slaughter is an essential part of the Jewish religion; it should therefore be protected based as part of freedom of religion, because it falls within the framework of religion.
• The Dutch Jewish community has consistently and continuously offered to work with government to ensure procedure to optimize animal welfare.
• Members of parliament have not engaged with the communities to search for viable and acceptable proposals. An invitation to visit the Kosher slaughterhouse and review our practices was not reacted on.
• We believe as backed by various experts that the method imposed by Jewish law, coupled with the constant monitoring and the quality of the facilities in the Netherlands, ensures an optimum level of animal welfare.
• Reports to the contrary have proven to be flawed by mixing various methods of slaughter together or not following the strict procedures imposed by Jewish law.
• Experts who have been willing to take our side though, have been smeared and attacked on unfair grounds by the animal lobby.
• EU Regulations including the European declaration on Human Rights offer us the right to live according to our laws and traditions. Restrictions imposed without due course, based on flawed research and without involving the relevant parties involved have a massive impact on our freedom to live as citizens in the Netherlands.