A Belgian government advisory body determined that any legislation that would prohibit ritual slaughter in the kingdom would violate its constitution.
The legal notice issued Wednesday by the Belgian Council of State came amid recent debates and planned legislation to ban the practice. The animal welfare minister in the government of the Flemish Region said last month it should be outlawed.
Religious laws in Islam and Judaism require animals be conscious when their necks are slit, though some religious leaders from both faiths allow stunning immediately after the cut. Many animal rights activists say the lack of stunning is cruel. Their opponents maintain ritual slaughter is more humane because it is not mechanized and less prone to accidents resulting in animal suffering.