Belgian law had long required animals to be stunned before slaughter to prevent unnecessary pain. It did, however, grant an exception for ritual slaughter, a practice in Islamic and Jewish religious laws in which the animals are not stunned first. Both halal and kosher slaughter require the use of a very sharp knife to slit the animal’s throat in one stroke and sever the major structures and vessels.
…A new law in the Flanders region of Belgium bans the practices required for both halal and kosher meat. That has meant such products have become harder to find and more expensive in recent months.
…Many Muslims feel the laws are a result of Islamophobia rather than a concern for animal rights. For Jews, they are also an uncomfortable reminder of a darker period in European history. In 1933, one of the first laws the Nazis enacted was a ban on kosher animal slaughter.
…With the help of an American legal fund, a group of Muslim and Jewish organizations have taken legal action and hope to overturn the new law. The Belgian Constitutional Court heard their arguments in January and is expected to rule on the case within weeks.