Advocate General: Ban on Ritual Slaughter Contravenes European Law

On 10 September Advocate General Hogan delivered his much anticipated Opinion in an important case concerning ritual slaughter pending before the Court of Justice of the EU. The case concerns the judicial review of a Decree by the Flemish Region that requires animals to be stunned prior to slaughter to reduce their suffering, thereby effectively prohibiting the slaughter of animals according to Jewish and Muslim rites. The case was brought before the Belgian Constitutional Court, which decided to stay the proceedings and request the CJEU to give a preliminary ruling on the compatibility of the Flemish legislation with European law. AG Hogan suggests that the Flemish Law proscribing slaughter of animals without stunning, including religious slaughter rites, is incompatible with EU law. He proposes that Member States should be allowed to adopt stricter rules than those contained in EU law on animal slaughter, but the prescribed derogation protecting religious rites must be protected.