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Parliamentary questions
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16 October 2019
Question for written answer E-003344-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Roman Haider (ID) , Georg Mayer (ID)

 Subject:  Ritual slaughter without stunning in the European Union
 Answer in writing 

The ritual slaughter of animals is practised in both Judaism and Islam. It entails killing the animals by cutting their throats. The animals are not stunned prior to slaughter because a stunned animal is considered to be no longer entirely undamaged and thus to be unfit for consumption.

Most of the animals killed in this way do not die immediately but struggle and experience inordinate suffering, sometimes for several minutes.

Many European countries, including the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Liechtenstein, have already banned ritual slaughter without stunning.

A parliamentary question on the matter (No E-007393-16) was put to the Commission as long ago as 2016. In its answer, the Commission said it believed that the relevant EU legislation properly reflected the balance between religious freedom and the protection of animals(1) (2) (3) (4) (5).

Can the Commission now answer the following questions:
1. In the years since 2016, it has been increasingly recognised that the practice of ritual slaughter without prior stunning is based more on tradition than religion and that stunning is entirely compatible with both Jewish and Muslim beliefs. Has the Commission changed its stance vis-à-vis an overall ban on ritual slaughter?
2. Legal provisions on ritual slaughter vary widely throughout Europe. Is the Commission considering introducing a directive to standardise the rules?
3. Is the Commission making an effort to establish, through research, what animals actually undergo in slaughterhouses in the EU?


Original language of question: DE 
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