The Dutch parliament has voted overwhelmingly to ban the ritual slaughter of livestock. This could halt production of kosher and halal meat in the Netherlands – and lead to similar campaigns in other European countries.
However, Jewish and Islamic groups which can prove animals do not suffer more during ritual killing than in an ordinary slaughterhouse will be able to apply for permits.
In a move aimed at further defusing the controversy over the proposed ban, deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen gave an undertaking no new legislation would be signed into law until approved by the senate. Dutch law requires animals to be stunned before slaughter, but has long allowed an exemption for Muslims and orthodox Jews, who can legally butcher animals according to their centuries-old dietary rules.