Ben Weyts, Flanders’ first animal welfare minister, has declared that ritual slaughter (without stunning) may only take place this year in officially licensed slaughterhouses. Muslim representatives said that the demand would far exceed the supply of slaughterhouses and the organisations were seeking a temporary lifting of the ban on slaughtering animals without stunning them.
|Blessings for Eid Al-Adha.|
In September the Council of Theologians, a panel of experts on Islam, ruled already that the obligation to sacrifice this year was lifted, in the hope of arriving at a solution to the problem in time for next year’s Eid al-Adha.
The court action was a last-minute bid to have the ban lifted to allow Eid to go ahead as usual. The court ruled only on the motion to grant an emergency lifting, but did not go into whether the ban is legal or, as the group argued, a breach of religious freedom.
“We respect the ruling of the court to uphold the ban on ritual slaughter outside of the licensed slaughterhouses,”Hasselt city councillor Habib El Ouakili told De Standaard.
“Muslims will not carry out slaughter without stunning: We are also Flemings, with rights and duties, who are bound to abide by the democratic rule of law.”This year 124,000 euro was provided for setting up temporary abattoirs, therefore GAIA’s solicitor Johan Verstraeten also lodged a complaint with the judicial authorities and pointed out to a recent court ruling that stated that the ritual slaughter of animals outside recognised abattoirs is illegal.
"Our campaigns are directed against religious traditions, but rather against the animal suffering they cause”But they do forget that by kosher and halal slaughtering there is much less by the animals than by those brought to industrial abattoirs.
In the end no problems arose at the Feast of Sacrifice or Bakr-Eid.