Netherlands bans export of kosher and halal meat to 'minimise' negative effects on animal welfare

Martijn van Dam, Netherlands' junior minister for economic affairs, hopes new measures minimising 'ritual slaughter' will reduce animal suffering

Ritual slaughter is a controversial subject in the Netherlands
Ritual slaughter is a controversial subject in the Netherlands

The Dutch government has announced plans to ban the export of kosher and halal meat in an effort to reduce the amount of animals killed through “ritual” slaughter, to minimise suffering.

The website Dutch News reports Martijn van Dam, junior minister for economic affairs, told MPs in a letter: “I find the current implementation unacceptable. Negative effects on animal welfare must be minimised.”

He said the new rules, which will be in place from January 2017, will ensure meat from animals killed “ritually” will be clearly labelled, only available in religious communities and will not be exported.

According to the website, Mr van Dam said he had spoken to Jewish and Muslim organisations and slaughterhouses to make agreements to introduce the new rules.

From next year, any abbottoirs which wish to perform ritual slaughter will need to register with the relevant authorities.

Since the animals cannot be stunned, eye reflex tests will ensure animals are unconscious before they are slaughtered, Dutch News said.

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