June 5 2012
Religious leaders in the Netherlands have signed an agreement with Deputy Minister Henk Bleker amending the terms of ritual animal slaughter in the country. The agreement states that an animal must be unconscious within forty seconds of the cut to its throat, or else must be stunned. The minister, interest groups and the slaughterhouse association have all signed the agreement.
The accord, Bleker states, provides “a good balance… between religious freedom and the improvement of the welfare of animals.” Rasit Bal, chair of the Muslim and Government Contact Group, stated that he is happy the agreement enables Muslims to continue to practice halal ritual slaughter in the country.
The agreement comes into force next week, ending negotiations over a proposed ban on ritual slaughter which have carried on since June 2011. A scientific advice committee has been established to answer any questions about the new procedures.