Lower House passes bill to ban slaughter without stunning by 116 to 30 majority!

29 juni 2011

The Lower House of the Dutch parliament has overwhelmingly adopted Marianne Thieme’s bill to implement a ban on the slaughter of animals without stunning. During three votes by roll call, it became clear that the majority of the House believes that the unnecessary suffering of animals can no longer be justified on the basis of traditions or religion.

The Party for the Animals views the adoption of the bill as a historic milestone in the struggle for animal rights. The bill will now be sent to the Upper House, probably this autumn.

This bill follows decades of discussion and research in which religious organizations were involved from the outset. The discussion had already started in the 1970s and in 1995 the government announced that the religious organizations had to make efforts to reduce ritual slaughter without stunning. These years of discussion and research and the resulting positions taken by, for example, authoritative bodies such as the Royal Netherlands Veterinary Association make it clear that Dutch society’s views on the slaughter of animals without stunning have changed irreversibly.

The proportionality between the aim and the means is guaranteed in this bill since this type of legislation is the only effective means of achieving the aim of reducing animal suffering. Relying on self-regulation via covenants is not an option exactly because some of the religious parties involved have the firm conviction that stunning is not desirable. This is why legislation is the only suitable measure. The ban on slaughter without stunning that this legislative bill seeks to implement is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Marianne Thieme: “We have demonstrated that there is a moral need to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning given the views of independent scientists and the general social consensus in the Netherlands that animals should not be subjected to any unnecessary suffering. Esther and I have worked hard to get to this point. Three long years, together with many colleagues, and we are proud that we have won over such a large majority of the House.”

An important point scored by the Party for the Animals is also the much-heard argument that not only should we focus on how animals meet their end but also on the lives they lead thitherto. Marianne Thieme: “That is exactly our argument. The lives of animals should be viewed with compassion and not only from an economic perspective.”

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