Dutch stop short of banning ritual slaughter

State Secretary Martijn van Dam of Economic Affairs came up with stricter rules for the ritual slaughter of animals, but stopped short of actually banning it. He announced the new rules, made after agreements with Jewish and Islamic organizations, in a letter to the lower house of parliament on Wednesday, ANP reports.

One important change is that the meat of ritually slaughtered animals can only be used in the Dutch market. Currently much of the meat is exported abroad. And the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority will constantly monitor ritual slaughter.

The new rules will take effect next year.

These rules are an extension to agreements former State Secretary Henk Bleker made with religious organizations in 2012, according to ANP. The agreements were aimed at improving animal welfare without interfering with religious practices.

Bleker's agreements include that an animal must not be conscious for longer than 40 seconds after its throat was cut. And ritual slaughter can only occur in registered slaughter houses.