Kosher slaughter will be illegal in Denmark, beginning Monday, by order of Agriculture and Food Minister Dan Jørgensen.
Though the ban is largely symbolic, as there are no kosher slaughterhouses currently in Denmark, the move has earned the ire of the Jewish community.
“Animal rights precede religious rights, I am for religious slaughter, but it must be done in a way that does not bring pain to the animal. This can be accomplished only by stunning,” Jorgensen told reporters.
According to Jewish law, stunning an animal before slaughter renders it unkosher.
“This attack on basic Jewish religious practice in Denmark puts into question the continuance of community life in the country and follows strongly on the heels of persistent attacks on Jewish circumcision,” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor told The Jerusalem Post.
Speaking to European Union officials, European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said the Danish government’s decision defied EU laws protecting religious freedom. In a letter to Danish officials, Margolin wrote that conducting kosher slaughter was a “bare minimum necessary for the survival of a Jewish community anywhere. Shechita bans in Denmark are hurtful to Jews in the country, in Europe, and throughout the world.”