Dutch MPs back unanaesthetised slaughter ban

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The Dutch parliament voted on Tuesday to ban the unanaesthetised slaughter of animals - much to the disappointment of Jewish and Muslim organisations. The final count of MPs' votes in the 150-seat lower house was 116 ballots for the draft legislation, with 30 against.

Animals are killed using the ritual slaughter technique - throat-slitting without stunning the animal in advance - to obtain kosher and halal meats. Jewish and Muslim representatives had argued that animals do not suffer more in the process than they do when other methods used in modern, non-religious  slaughterhouses are applied. 

The Christian Democrat CDA party and the small, right-wing protestant SGP party were both against the ban, calling it an infringement of the right to religious freedom. Members of the Labour Party and anti-Islam PVV were also among the dissenting voters.  

Animal Rights party leader and MP Marianne Thieme defended the ban, which she initiated. “This is a huge milestone,” she said, adding that although it may be difficult for religious groups, “Animal welfare is paramount. It is absolutely not a religious issue.”

The legislation now needs to be approved by a vote from the senate.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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