Jewish organizations are running at full steam fighting a proposed bill in the Netherlands which would restrict religious forms of animal slaughter. Such energy was not seen even in the days when Soviet Jews could not emigrate from their communist prison, nor is it seen today when Israel faces international condemnation.

The bill would generally require that animals must be stunned before slaughter; a very sensible and humane measure. The problem is that ultra-strict rabbis interpret stunning as a form of mutilation, which disqualifies the animal as food. In truth, such mutilation would only disqualify it as a sacrifice, and there is no Temple to sacrifice them to in the first place. Besides, stunning is not mutilation, and this case closely parallels Jewish law that allows criminals to be rendered unconscious before execution.

Even so, Jews would be able to continue shechita slaughter, with the only requirement being that the meat must be marked accordingly. Jewish meat processors claim that this requirement would drive them out of business because currently 3/4 of their meat is sold to gentiles for being not strictly kosher. But Jews at the time of Moshe did not throw away 3/4 of their meat; obviously, current halachic regulations are overly strict. Finding his community in a similar situation, Rashi relaxed the shechita laws. Another option would be to accept that a handful of Jewish meat processors would be driven out of business, and kosher meat imported from more permissive jurisdictions.

On the positive side, the proposed bill would greatly afflict Muslim communities in the Netherlands who wouldn’t be able to practice halal slaughter.

Samson Blinded

 

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