Holland Debates Banning Ritual Slaughter

Laurens Peters

Approximately 2 million animals are slaughtered in the Netherlands without stunning each year. This number is composed mainly of poultry, but also of large numbers of sheep and cattle. Although Dutch and European laws generally prohibit slaughter without stunning, exception is granted to ritual slaughter, practiced by parts of the Jewish and Muslim communities. In 2008, the Royal Dutch Veterinary Society published a report proving that this practice causes the animals to experience much stress and unacceptable suffering (video produced by the Party for the Animals, contains shocking footage).

This month, the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch Lower House of Parliament) completed a first reading of a bill to prohibit ritual slaughter, i.e. to make the existing ban on slaughter without prior stunning absolute. The bill was introduced by the Dutch Party for the Animals (PvdD), which holds two seats in the House. Although the proposal is likely to be adopted, it has received plenty of media attention. The discussion has been focused on the clash of fundamental rights and values. Continue reading

Fries, Beer, and the IUCN Colloquium

David Cassuto

Belgium is pretty cool.  Ghent is an absolutely beautiful city, filled with the kind of stunning architecture that one might expect to see in European cities better known for their visual splendor.  And did you know that Ghent was the second-largest city in Europe (behind Paris) for quite a while, quite a while back?  Just up the road is Bruges – a medieval city that was a bustling center of commerce until its harbor silted up 400 or so years ago.  As a result, it still looks much as it did then.  And back then, it looked mighty good.

Let’s see… what else?  The pommes frites – to which I had been looking forward with almost maniacal glee – were not all that.  In my experience (admittedly limited to Ghent), one can do much better on St. Mark’s Place in NYC.

The beer, however.  Oh, the beer.  Oh, it’s good.  It’s good beer.

Continue reading