The northern Belgium region of Flanders’ parliament unanimously passed a resolution banning ritual slaughter without stunning, rendering Halachically kosher meat illegal to produce. The region is home to the European continent’s largest Orthodox-Jewish population, concentrated in Antwerp.
from the JTA:
The resolution was passed last week, and follows a similar decision approved in May by the Walloon Parliament in southern Belgium, Belgium’s largest region, which is home to just a few hundred Jews.
Both bans will take effect in 2019.
The threat to ban ritual slaughter without stunning has been circulating in Belgium for many years.
Shechitah, the ritual method of slaughtering animals, requires they be conscious when their throats are slit — a practice that critics say is cruel but which advocates insist is more humane than mechanized methods used in non-kosher abattoirs. Muslims slaughter animals in a similar method, albeit with fewer restrictions, to produce halal meat.
Kosher slaughter houses in Antwerp, the capital of the Flemish Region, provide meat to many Jewish communities in Europe.