October 27, 2020

Halal meat can not carry the 'bio' label in Europe | Society

Belgium prohibits religious rituals of sacrifice despite protests by Jews and Muslims | Society



The Court of Justice of the EU has determined on Tuesday that halal meat can not bear, in any case, the label that accredits it as coming from organic farming. According to EU regulations, these products must meet strict animal husbandry requirements, not harm biodiversity, use energy and natural resources responsibly, and ensure the welfare of livestock. The Court of Luxembourg esteem rituals of sacrifice without stunning like the Muslim, they contradict those norms, for what has prohibited the use of the AB certification in their advertising and packaging. "The organic production logo of the European Union can not be used for meat from animals that have been subjected to a ritual sacrifice without prior stunning," he has ruled.

The case dates back to 2012, when the French organization OABA, contrary to this method of slaughter, asked the French Ministry of Agriculture to prevent producers of halal meat from using the logo of organic farming in the packaging of hamburgers of halal beef. The public body responsible for granting the label rejected the request, and the association then raised the matter to the judges. In the face of doubt about how to proceed, a court in Versailles sent a question to the Court of Justice of the EU. And on Tuesday he responded that these sacrifices do not respect the rules on animal welfare, so they are not authorized to use the ecological badge.

Community magistrates interpret that the EU regulation to deliver the label reflects an express will to guarantee animal welfare at all stages of production, including slaughter. And he recalled that there are scientific studies that show that stunning – usually done with a stun gun, an electric shock or gas to make the animal lose consciousness – is the most respectful technique. European justice stresses that the practice of ritual sacrifice is only allowed exceptionally in the name of religious freedom, but stresses that "it is not as effective in reducing pain, anguish or animal suffering as sacrifice preceded by stunning".

The judges admit that the ritual has a certain willingness to avoid suffering, by slaughtering the animal with a sharp knife to reduce its pain as much as possible, but distrusts the final result, and has not demonstrated that it will minimize their suffering. .

The ruling, although promoted by an entity contrary to the ecological labeling of halal meat, may also affect the meat kosher bean. In the Muslim tradition, the slaughterer gives a dry cut to the neck looking towards Mecca while Allah is invoked, while the Jewish ritual slaughter involves a deep and uniform cut in the throat with a sharp knife.

For the court, the labeling must aim to "maintain and justify consumer confidence in products labeled as organic", which must provide customers with the assurance that what they buy complies with the stringent European regulations .

The opinion – something unusual – contradicts the general lawyer, Nils Wahl, who last September recommended to the European justice to authorize the eco-label to products from ritually slaughtered animals without stunning so as not to impede their consumers' access to them. Guarantees offered in terms of quality and food safety. The judges disagree, and believe that in order to continue to maintain these guarantees, more painless sacrificial systems should be used.

The decision comes amid intense controversy over religious sacrifices in Europe. Animal organizations across the continent are calling for an end to the religious exception in slaughterhouses. And Belgium prohibited at the beginning of the year the slaughter of animals without previous stunning.

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