The Executive Council of the Muslims of Belgium (EMB) and the Coordinating Council of the Islamic Institutions of Belgium are considering lodging an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) following Thursday’s ruling by the Belgian Constitutional Court to uphold the ban on ritual slaughter, the organisations said in a statement on Friday.
The European Jewish Congress has also reacted and expressed its ‘deep regret’ over the decision, Bruzz reports.
The ban in place in Flanders and Wallonia (but not in Brussels) applies to all slaughter without stunning, which includes ritual slaughter done by religious Jews and Muslims.
For the Muslim organisations, “the current religious slaughter techniques constitute a fully-fledged alternative to stunning and are perfectly compatible with the requirements of public health, food safety and animal welfare.”
They say the requirement to stun animals is no more than an emotional and symbolic measure designed to ease the conscience of the average consumer, and that banning it is to the detriment of religious minorities and “obscures the reality that animals are bred as objects of consumption in industrial mega-stables.”
The Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected appeals against the Walloon and Flemish bans on the slaughter of animals without stunning.
The general obligation to stun the animal has been in force in both regions since 2019.
Islamic religious associations and individuals from the Jewish community had turned to the Constitutional Court to try to have the decrees annulled, but last week that appeal was rejected.
The Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organisations in Belgium (CCOJB), which was the plaintiff in the case, spoke on the date of the decision of a “return to square one.
They say the Constitutional Court “refuses to protect religious minorities.”
The animal rights organisation Gaia, which intervened in the exchanges before the Constitutional Court, reacted positively to the ruling on Thursday.
“This brings an end to a long legal battle,” said chairman Michel Vandenbosch.
In the future, he said, avoidable and scientifically confirmed animal suffering will be prevented.