Dutch ban on the ritual slaughter of animals

The Dutch government has taken the first steps towards banning the slaughter of animals without stunning them first. This means that the way Jews and Muslims produce kosher and halal meat is no longer allowed since that requires the slitting of the animal’s throat while it is still alive.

These two religious groups are upset and joining together to claim (surprise!) religious persecution. As one might have predicted, the specter of Hitler is being invoked, with the chief rabbi of the Netherlands comparing this action to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. On the Muslim side, one imam told Reuters, “This is a political decision. Who has the authority to determine whether the way of killing animals is good or not?”

Well, duh. When a country’s parliament passes a law, it goes without saying that it is a political decision. And surely that same body has the authority to pass laws governing its food supply?

Religious people cannot seem to get it into their heads that just because some obscure and anonymous desert nomads wrote something a couple of thousand years ago, that is not a basis for deciding policies in the 21st century. You need to make the case based on contemporary knowledge and mores.

The selectivity of religions on such issues is glaringly obvious. They would not dare make the same arguments for their other religious rules such as the killing of people for various transgressions because that would show how barbaric their religious books are. But because the humane killing of animals is still not a universal value, they think they can get away with asking for religious exemptions for their practices.

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