A committee of the EU Parliament voted down an attempt to disallow ritually slaughtered meat from being labeled as organic. The decision is seen as an encouraging sign by advocates of shechitah and halal on the continent.
The Committee of Agricultural and Rural Development (AGRI), which oversees many issues related to food production, met Tuesday to discuss regulation of organic meat. Prior to the meeting, several members introduced a proposal that would disqualify any animals that were not stunned prior to slaughter from being sold under the organic label, despite having been raised according to organic standards.
“It seems bizarre that two animals can live parallel lives, but if one undergoes religious slaughter, its meat ceases to be considered organic,” Shimon Cohen, Campaign Director of Shechita UK told Hamodia.
Advocates of protection of ritual slaughter contacted all members of the committee to explain their position.
“We pointed out that this was an attempt to hijack a sensible debate over organic standards into a backhanded attempt to delegitimize shechitah, an issue over which they have been defeated several times,” said Mr. Cohen.
The definition of organic meat used by the USDA and European regulators requires free grazing and a natural diet for animals without hormones or other additives, but does not discuss methods of slaughter.
There have been several attempts in recent years to place limitations or even ban ritual slaughter in Europe, but, over the past year, many of these actions have ended favorably for shechitah advocates.
Several EU parliament members had introduced motions requiring all ritually slaughtered meats to be labeled as such, but a recent study showing little consumer interest in the matter tabled the proposal.
“The general feeling is that we are in a good place at the moment, but there are constant attempts to undermine it,” said Mr. Cohen. “At this stage we are pleased that our viewpoint is being accepted.”