Two Breton slaughterhouses put an end to religious slaughter


Western Europe


Photo AFP, Frederick Florin

Since the beginning of this month, two slaughterhouses have stopped slaughtering without prior stunning in their Breton slaughterhouses. According to the company, the decision is motivated by the consideration of animal welfare.

“We want to become a national reference in terms of animal welfare”, explains Jérôme Lebec. He is the general manager of the slaughterhouses. To news platform Ouest France, Lebec explains that out of 300.000 cattle slaughtered annually, 15 per cent concerned ritual slaughter.

The Jewish website JForum speculates whether this decision might be the start of a more significant trend of stopping the ritual slaughter. “This first hitch will appear as a decision of any kind of management, and especially if it is a question of it in three months, the debate will not even have to be opened; it will be a fait accompli.”

In France, unstunned slaughter is permitted, with some restrictions. However, the subject is up for debate. In the presidential elections earlier this year, candidate Marine Le Pen wanted to outlaw ritual slaughter. Le Pen says all animals should be stunned before slaughter and frames the issue as one of animal welfare. That’s unacceptable to observant Jews and Muslims who believe stunning causes unnecessary animal suffering and that their ritual slaughters for kosher and halal meats are more humane. If Le Pen was elected and the ban on ritual slaughter came through, families might be forced to illegally slaughter at home to stay within their religious rules, bleeding out animals “in the bathroom, back to the way it was”.

With the largest populations of Muslims and Jews in western Europe, the issue has major potential repercussions for France. It could hit communities elsewhere that buy French meat exports.



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