New York, NY, December 14, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed as a victory for religious freedom the rejection in the Dutch Senate of a bill that would have banned kosher slaughter. The bill, proposed by the Animal Rights Party, would have required that animals be stunned prior to slaughter, a practice incompatible with Jewish law on kosher food. It had passed the lower house of the Dutch parliament in June.
While the official vote in the Senate will take place December 20, parties representing a substantial majority of the Senate declared their opposition in yesterday's debate.
"We appreciate that the mainstream parties upheld the Dutch tradition of religious tolerance and religious freedom," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While the proposal was in the spirit of defending animal rights and did not represent any anti-Jewish intent, the brunt would be borne by the Dutch Jewish community and its passage would have conveyed a message of intolerance for traditional Judaism and for those who observe Jewish dietary laws. Dutch Jews – regardless of their observance of dietary laws – would be made to feel as second-class citizens."
In addition to the Animal Rights Party, support for the bill in last night's Senate debate also came from the anti-immigrant Freedom Party. Similar to Jewish law, Islamic law states a strong preference for slaughter without stunning, so the Freedom Party saw the bill as a means of targeting the Muslim community in the Netherlands.