Belgium’s Constitutional Court decided on Thursday to refer to the European Court of Justice – for a preliminary ruling – on three questions regarding a petition for annulment filed against decrees banning religious slaughter in Flanders and Wallonia. The Constitutional Court will not decide on the case until it receives the responses from the ECJ.
Jewish and Muslim organisations, including the Comité de Coordination des Organisations Juives de Belgique (CCOJB) and the Exécutif des Musulmans de Belgique, filed a petition with the Constitutional Court in November 2017 to annul decrees banning slaughter without prior stunning in Flanders and Wallonia.
The ban, adopted in 2017, took effect in Flanders on 1 January of that year, and became effective in Wallonia on 1 September. Brussels has not issued any decree in that regard.
Stunning is aimed at saving animals for avoidable pain.
The Constitutional Court now wants to verify the legality of the indirect ban on religious slaughter in relation to European law.
“European legislation does, in fact, allow for religious slaughter as an exception to the rule of prior stunning, as long as the religious slaughter is done in a certified abattoir,” the CCOJB said in a reaction, stressing that it would now pursue its combat in Luxembourg, where the ECJ is based.