ADL Condemns Dutch Vote Against Kosher Slaughter

New York, NY, June 28, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned today's vote in the lower house of the Dutch parliament to require all animals to be stunned before slaughter, an action that renders the animal unfit to use for kosher meat.

"By voting for a de facto ban on kosher slaughter, the lower house of the Dutch parliament has repudiated the Netherlands' historic commitment to religious freedom," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

"Dutch Jews must not be put to the choice of violating a central tenet of Judaism, foregoing fresh meat, or emigrating. We call upon the Dutch Senate to prevent this action from leading to a clear violation of religious freedom that has a disproportionate impact on the Jewish community."

The bill is based on the false premise that kosher slaughter, or shechita, which involves a single cut with a razor-sharp knife to minimize pain, is less humane than slaughter with pre-stunning by electrocution, gassing or a bolt shot to the animal's forehead. A 2004 peer-reviewed paper, "Physiological Insights Into Shechita," by Dr. Stuart Rosen of Imperial College in London, concluded that "shechitah is a painless and humane method of animal slaughter."

Other recent scientific studies have similarly shown that shechita is no less humane than other methods. By contrast, the report relied upon by the bill's sponsor has been severely criticized as unscientific.

ADL has previously called the legislation, submitted by the tiny Party for the Animals, "unfair and ill-advised."

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