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Animal protection or religious freedom?

SIBILLA BONDOLFI: ‘In Switzerland, animal welfare groups are launching an initiative to ban the import of animal products obtained via cruel methods. Yet there’s a debate as to whether a ban should include kosher and halal meat. Swiss animal protection laws forbid the production of products like foie gras and frog legs. The fact that these items can be imported is both a contradiction and a thorn in the eye to animal rights activists. After a motion for an import ban failed in parliament, animal welfare groups have turned to direct democracy in the form of a people’s initiative.

Potentially volatile is the question of whether kosher and halal meat will fall under the ban. Killing a conscious animal by slitting its throat and letting it bleed to death has been banned in Switzerland since 1893. This butchering method is permitted only if the animal is anaesthetized beforehand. “In principle, it is not clear why religion should override our law,” says Michael Gehrken of Alliance Animal Suisse’. SOURCE…


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