The minister of food and agriculture, Dan Jørgensen (S), met with a delegation of European Muslim and Jewish leaders late last week concerning Denmark’s new law banning the slaughter of animals that have not been stunned.
Rabbi Marc Schneier, the President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), said that the delegation was in Denmark to inform Jørgensen that the law was greatly damaging the image of Denmark in Europe and the United States and should be rescinded as soon as possible.
While the minister pointed out that he had been misquoted in the media for allegedly saying that "Animal rights come before religion", the leaders informed him that he would be judged “not by your words, but by your actions. So far, those actions show that you indeed put animal rights before religious rights," according to a press release by FFEU.
According to Afzal Khan, the former Lord Mayor of Manchester and co-founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester, the group would maintain its pressure on Denmark
"We made clear to Minister Jorgensen that we will continue our campaign of international pressure on Denmark until it realises the great hurt it is causing Muslims and Jews at home and worldwide, and rescinds this ruinous policy."
While Jørgensen underlined that Denmark was following in accord with an EU directive, Samia Hathroubi, the FFEU European coordinator, informed him that the EU allows exceptions to the directive to religious communities, whose ritual slaughtering practices proscribe stunning. Said exceptions have been adopted by countries like France and Belgium.
Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg, Rene Gutman, argued that the ban was a blow to a country known for protecting human rights and religious freedom.
But Jørgensen said that he stood by his ban on kosher and halal slaughtering in Denmark, although he said he would continue to allow the Jewish and Muslim communities in Denmark to keep importing kosher and halal meat products.