Denmark recently instated a new law prohibiting the “unlawful” slaughtering of animals for religious sacrifice. This recent legislative decision has been labeled as “anti-Semitic” from certain religious leaders. There had been a long term debate over this issue in Europe as to whether or not animal rights come before religious rights. In February the Denmark government finally concluded that conscious slaughtering of animals for any reason, whether it is for religious purposes or not, is immoral and illegal. This also made it very clear to Danish religious groups that the government feels the rights of animals come before the rights of their religions. This issue has and will always be a hot topic for religious communities and activists. Religious freedom is a very important issue in Europe, and so is the proper treatment of living things. Animal rights activists work hard on humane treatment for animals, and some religions have very different ideas and practices they would consider humane.
The ban is mainly focused on “halal” or “kosher” meat. Halal and kosher meats are foods that Muslim and Jewish people religiously prepare and consume. For these types of religions to consume the meat, the animal must be conscious during the slaughter. These practices occur all over the world and have been a part of religious cultures for centuries. So one can see how such a drastic change would be very disconcerting to those who are carrying or passing down the traditions of their ancestors.
On the other hand, times have changed and traditions that were once acceptable to many are no longer acceptable to a lot more. Many animal rights activists, especially the Farm Animal Welfare Council, lobbied to instate this law so people have to pre-stun the animal before slaughter. FAWC was fully aware this method completely corrupts the sacred way some religions go about their diet. Britain is soon to be on their way to join such countries as Denmark, Norway and Sweden in this ruling; though they are concerned about the inevitable uproar it will cause in their diverse and multicultural society.