The Dutch Upper House has rejected a ban on ritual slaughter without anaesthetising animals first. The Senate debated a bill by the Animal Rights Party Marianne Thieme for a second time on Tuesday. The first time round, Ms Thieme withdrew from the debate after intervention by Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker.
Ms Thieme wanted to ban the ritual slaughter of animals because they are not stunned before being killed and therefore experience extra stress and pain. The bill was passed with a large majority in the Lower House in June last year, but in the Senate last December only the Animal Rights Party, the Freedom Party, the 50Plus party and the Independent Senators bloc readily backed the bill.
Earlier this month, Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker brokered an agreement with Jewish and Islamic organisations on ritual slaughter. The agreement stipulates that a qualified Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority vet must be present in the slaughter houses during ritual slaughter and the animal has to be dead 40 seconds after its throat has been cut.
The conservative VVD, Labour Party, democrats D66, Christian Democrats and orthodox Christian SGP all opposed the bill. Green Left said the current bill was not supported by the whole party.
Back in December, the Senators feared the bill would be a dead letter, with kosher (Jewish) and halal (Muslim) meat being imported from abroad. They also considered the exemption for slaughterhouses which could prove that the animals did not suffer a reversal of the burden of proof.
Marianne Thieme wants the Senators to help her ammend the bill so that it will make through the Upper House. The conservative VVD, Labour Party and Christian Democrats say the matter has been discussed enough now.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
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