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.
Together with the International Legal Forum, thinc. has made a submission to the ‘Report to the UN General Assembly on Eliminating Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief’ to report that the Ban on Ritual Slaughter as recently issued in Belgium violates the Freedom of Religion and threatens the existence of Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe and beyond.
The freedom of religion is being threatened under the pretence of animal welfare.