Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has joined Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) in urging the Netherlands upper house not to affirm a ban on ritual slaughter.
Ellison, who is a Muslim, and Engel, who is Jewish, say the bill being considered by the Dutch Senate would curtail religious freedom, according to Jewish news outlet JTA:
"This bill would have a direct impact on the one million Muslims and 50,000 Jews who live in The Netherlands," said a letter the two congressmen sent Monday to Godefridus de Graaf, president of the Dutch Senate. "Both these communities stand to suffer significant hardship if this bill becomes law, and we agree with Dutch Jews and Muslims who say that such a law would curtail their religious freedoms."
Under the bill being considered by the Senate, animals are required to be stunned before slaughter. Both Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter must be performed while the animal is fully conscious.
The bill was put forward by the Animal Rights Party, which claims that stunning before slaughter causes less pain to the animal. The Jewish and Muslim communities have a year to prove otherwise or the law goes into effect, JTA reports.
Ellison to Receive Award in Minneapolis
The representative will be in Minneapolis today to receive the National Association of Community Health Centers' 2011 Distinguished Community Health Advocate award.
The award will be presented at the NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center at 10 a.m.