Belgium’s Wallooon region has voted to outlaw kosher and halal meat by banning the killing of unstunned animals, the Independent reported Monday.
The ban is set to take effect on September 1, 2019 and was voted on by the environment committee of southern Belgium’s Walloon Parliament.
Islamic halal and Jewish kosher rituals require that the animal be slaughtered with a swift slit of the throat.
Both also require that the animals blood be drained but animal rights campaigners argue it is more humane to stun the animals before they are killed.
The European Jewish Congress has condemned the decision, calling it “scandalous” in a released statement.
“This decision, in the heart of Western Europe and the center of the European Union, sends a terrible message to Jewish communities throughout our continent that Jews are unwanted,” EJC president Moshe Kantor said.
“It attacks the very core of our culture and religious practice and our status as equal citizens with equal rights in a democratic society.
It gives succor to anti-semites and to those intolerant of other communities and faiths.”
He added: “We call on legislators to step back from the brink of the greatest assault on Jewish religious rights in Belgium since the Nazi occupation of the country in World War II.”
Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand already prohibit unstunned slaughter.