“Animal rights come before religion,” said Denmark’s Minister for Agriculture and Food, Dan Jørgensen.
Jørgensen was defending Denmark’s new ban on the religious slaughter of animals for the production of kosher (Jewish) and halal (Islamic) meat. The change in the law, which previously allowed exemptions on religious grounds, comes after years of campaigning by animal rights activists.
Religious slaughtering requires the killing of the animal while it is conscious. European regulations require animals to be stunned before being slaughtered.
Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan said, “European anti-Semitism is showing its true colours across Europe, and is even intensifying in the government institutions.”
Danish Halal, a monitoring group, launched a petition against the ban, saying it was “a clear interference in religious freedom limiting the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion in Denmark.”
Though there are many animal abuses in the slaughtering business, to turn religious liberty on its head is one more sign of a growing disregard for religious convictions of individual citizens or religious groups. If Denmark can restrict the religious freedom in favor of animal rights, how much respect is left for human freedom?