Ritual slaughter in Brussels: a “mind-blowing” decision according to Gaia

“It’s amazing that parliamentarians with all the scientific arguments at their disposal deny that the earth is round,” said Ann De Greef, director of Gaia.

The association for the defense of animals Gaia reacted outraged to the rejection, on Friday, by the Brussels parliament of the proposal for an ordinance aimed at prohibiting slaughter without stunning. “It’s amazing that parliamentarians with all the scientific arguments at their disposal deny that the earth is round,” said Ann De Greef, director of Gaia. The Brussels parliament on Friday rejected the DéFI-Groen-Open Vld ordinance proposal wishing to impose stunning before animal slaughter in the Brussels Region. Thirty-eight parliamentarians voted against this proposal while eight abstained.

“Politicians should base themselves on science. But this is clearly not the case. Because of them, hundreds of thousands of animals will still be slaughtered in the worst pain”, denounces Ann From Greef.

The director of Gaia believes that the eight parliamentarians who abstained are “just as guilty” as those who voted against. “How can we not have an opinion on something so cruel”, she wonders to the Belga agency, while there is a scientific consensus on the fact that the prior stunning is the best way to reduce animal suffering. “I wonder if they’ll sleep well at night…”

“The Brussels deputies give rigorous religious clerics a de facto right of veto on animal welfare and are complicit in the extreme pain of thousands of animals slaughtered without stunning”, was indignant for his part the president of Gaia, Michel Vandenbosch. , quoted in a press release. “The deputies have shown a reprehensible lack of humanity and ethics with regard to defenseless animals, which deserve special protection under the general Brussels law on animal welfare”, underlines t- -he.

According to this law, animals, “as living beings endowed with sensitivity, self-interest and dignity”, deserve specific protection.

Gaia recalls that 95 to 96% of the sheep slaughtered at the Anderlecht slaughterhouse are killed without stunning.

“But our fight has only just begun”, warns Ann De Greef already. “We are pit bulls. We bite and we don’t let go,” she illustrates.

The association also returns to the judgments rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Belgian Constitutional Court, which ruled in favor of the prior stunning of animals during their ritual slaughter, to the chagrin of several associations. Jews and Muslims. Ritual slaughter does not provide for the stunning of the animal, which must be intact before killing.

By their vote, the Brussels deputies “knowingly maintain a religious exemption regime, as a result of which thousands of animals will continue to suffer extreme pain and suffering for religious purposes”, notes Mr. Vandenbosch. “These MPs have shown an unprecedented disregard for current, widely held social values ​​and norms of animal treatment: animals should be spared all avoidable suffering. Therefore, animals for slaughter must, without exception, be stunned before being killed.”

In Flanders, the ban on slaughter without stunning came into force on January 1, 2019, while it has been in effect since September 1, 2019 in Wallonia.

The CCOJB and the Famab are satisfied

The Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations of Belgium (CCOJB) reacted positively to the rejection of the DéFI-Groen-Open Vld ordinance proposal aimed at imposing stunning before ritual slaughter in the Brussels Region. “Brussels does not ultimately penalize minorities” can we read in particular in the press release. Within the ranks of the CCOJB, the news was greeted with enormous relief, speaking of “satisfaction” at the rejection of the proposal “aiming to abolish the exception provided for the benefit of religious minorities with regard to the slaughter of animals with a view to their consumption.

The CCOJB goes on to underline the preservation of a “balance struck over decades between the legitimate and central objective of protecting animal welfare, which justified the rule of prior stunning, and the protection of the fundamental rights of minorities. , which justified the exception to strict conditions with regard to ritual slaughter.”

Within the Muslim community, we agree. “I am obviously very satisfied with this decision”, supports Ndiaye Mouhameth Galaye, president of the Federation of African Muslim Associations of Belgium (Famab). The latter also welcomes a democratic decision. “We are in a country of rights, and you have to know how to claim things peacefully, in accordance with the law. If the ordinance proposal had passed, I would have accepted it, because that is what would have been decided.”

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