The Brussels Parliament continues to allow slaughter without stunning

17 June 2022

On Friday evening, the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region voted against an ordinance that makes stunning before slaughter compulsory. Brussels thus remains the only region where slaughter is still carried out without stunning. N-VA-group leader Cieltje Van Achter is disappointed that the Brussels Parliament is continuing to allow unnecessary animal suffering. All the scientific and legal arguments for compulsory stunning before slaughter failed to convince the Vooruit, PS, Ecolo, Les Engagés and PVDA party members.” 

In May and June, the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region debated a ban on slaughter without stunning. This has been banned in Flanders and Wallonia since 2019, but 80% of slaughter still takes place without stunning in Brussels. Prior to the vote on the ban, hearings were held with religious communities, lawyers and animal welfare experts. Those hearings failed to convince a majority of MPs: most Vooruit, PS, Ecolo, Les Engagés and PVDA party members voted against it. Open VLD, MR and Défi party members were also not unanimously in favour of a ban.

Abiding by religious communities

After the vote, Cieltje Van Achter was disillusioned. “The scientific consensus is clear: slaughter without stunning causes unnecessary animal suffering. A ban was therefore only logical,” says Cieltje Van Achter. “The fact that those MPs are allowing this unnecessary animal suffering to continue has nothing to do with law or science, but everything to do with religion. Parties and MPs abide by the wishes of some religious communities for fear of losing their votes. However, ritual slaughter with stunning is completely normal in a large part of the Islamic world. And there are also Muslims here who are in favour of slaughter with stunning.”

Foundations of the secular rule of law undermined

Cieltje Van Achter is therefore concerned about the direction the Brussels Parliament is taking with this. “If MPs today set aside scientific and legal arguments to accommodate religious beliefs, what will prevent them from doing so again in the future in other debates? Today, the Brussels Parliament is shattering the foundations of our secular rule of law, purely for electoral reasons.”

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