Ritual Slaughter


Animal Welfare and the Freedom of Religion


Jan Willem Sap, Carla M. Zoethout & Gerhard van der Schyff

According to traditional Jewish and Islamic law, animals must be slaughtered by a single cut to the throat. The practice of ritual slaughter has become controversial to the extent that it is interpreted as precluding animals from being stunned first. This raises a number of important and related questions. What are the limits of animal welfare? What are the limits of the right to freedom of religion? What is the best way to discuss this dilemma in a democratic society under the rule of law that also respects minorities?

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In three essays, the authors reflect upon these and other questions. Jan Willem Sap emphasises that the state must continue its dialogue with Jews and Muslims with the aim to improve animal welfare to the greatest possible extent. Carla Zoethout argues that respect for animal welfare can serve as a legitimate aim to limit the right to freedom of religion and the practice of unstunned ritual slaughter. Gerhard van der Schyff considers equality to be the central value in structuring the relationship between law and religion in the Netherlands when it comes to decision-making on ritual slaughter.

This book is aimed at students, legal practitioners and researchers who are interested in an important and emotional issue of Law and Religion in Europe.



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