With the events that have been laid out recently in Denmark the ministry of agriculture has declared “animal welfare takes precedence over religion,” outraged many members of the Jewish and Muslim community in Denmark. As stated in the article there was “immediate accusations of anti-Semitism and Islam-phobia from Jews and Muslims,” which is not hard to believe when the Halal and Shechita religious slaughter of these animals hardly meets the cruelty faced in many factory farmed animals in Denmark.
The issue here is that European law states that the only legal and humane way to kill these animals is if they are stunned before having their throats slit, whereas when an animal is sacrificed for religious rites the animal is required to be alive, fully healthy, and most importantly conscious. After hundreds, if not thousands, of years of Jews and Muslims performing this ritual act they have mastered the skill of killing the animal while preventing its suffering, however the agricultural ministry sees this act as inhumane due to the fact the animal has not been stunned.
The major argument surrounding this new law is the fact that the factory livestock which lives out its days in cramped concrete cells, being force fed, and ruthlessly stunned and killed for consumption is being compared to the Halal and Shechita slaughters which the animals are generally given a better overall life, even though the last minutes of their existence they are not stunned before having their throats slit. However, even though the practice has been banned in Denmark, Muslims and Jews are still able to order more kosher meats from other areas, which is slightly ironic.
When it comes down to it, this new law has ironic tendencies, such as the mass murdering of livestock for public consumption rather than the ritual killing for religious practices which, realistically, are done in a more humane fashion when looking at the overall quality of life for the animals. The second issue with this new law is that it does create an issue with religious freedom and has a lingering effect of antisemitism and Islam-phoibia which in turn will only create a greater hostility among these religious groups and others.
Who is to say that Halal and Shechita slaughter is worse than factory killings and create a ban on these religious acts? Apparently Denmark’s ministry of agriculture, but, who is to say that his decision to outlaw these practices because of their inhumanity is right when the factory killing of livestock for mass consumption is in itself just as inhumane.
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