Jewish and Muslim representatives Thursday appealed to Dutch lawmakers not to enforce plans requiring animals to be stunned before halaal and kosher slaughtering rituals. "We are against any form of stunning because it's against our religion," Yusuf Altuntas, president of the CMO -- an organisation that links the Muslim community with the Dutch government -- told a parliamentary commission. "One of the first measures taken during the occupation (during World War II) was the closing of kosher abattoirs," Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs added during the debate in The Hague. Dutch law required animals to be stunned before being slaughtered but made an exception for ritual halaal and kosher slaughters. The country's Party for Animals (PvdD) which holds two seats in the 150-seat Dutch parliament, has submitted a proposal, if implemented, would see this exception abolished.
Dutch media widely reported that the PvdD's proposal was expected to get a majority nod from parliamentarians. "It will cause an irreversable fracture in our society," said Ronnie Eisenmann, who leads Amsterdam's Jewish community. "Changes in the law will do nothing to ease the suffering of animals," he added. Jewish and Muslim representatives Thursday insisted the ritual slaughter respected the animals' welfare, notably restriction methods used to limit suffering and those slaughtering received expert training. They did however offer to implement some measures which they said would ease the animals' suffering, especially better controls in abattoirs where ritual slaughters were performed and an improvement in conditions under which animals were being transported.