Top Greek Court Rules Non-Stun Halal Slaughter Illegal


Greece’s Council of State, the country’s top administrative court, has declared that the slaughter of animals in religious rituals, such as halal, is illegal without first stunning or sedating the animal.

The court banned such ritual slaughter, stating that the killing of non-stunned animals in halal and kosher rituals was illegal and contrary to both Greek and European Union legislation.

The ruling comes after the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation had appealed to the court on the issue, although according to a report from the Jewish Telegraph Agency the appeal was not cited in the court’s ruling on the matter.

The Greek court stated that it was up to the government to bridge the divide between religious groups such as Muslims and Jews and animal rights campaigners to allow the religious to operate within the law.

“The government should regulate the issue of slaughtering animals in the context of worship in such a way as to ensure both the protection of animals from any inconvenience during slaughter and the religious freedom of religious Muslims and Jews living in Greece,” the court stated.

The ruling comes just weeks after the Constitutional Court of Belgium upheld a European Union Court of Justice ruling to ban religious slaughter without stunning.

In 2017, the French-speaking Walloon region of Belgium voted to ban ritual slaughter, following the Flemish-speaking Flanders region which also banned the practice — although the Brussels region, which is home to a large Muslim population, has so far been exempt from such rules.

Tthe Brussels government has begun discussing the possibility of a ban within the capital region recently, however, with Minister of Animal Welfare Bernard Clerfayt tabling a draft ordinance to ban slaughter without stunning earlier this month.

Clerfayt comment on the progress of the proposed ban, saying: “There is no agreement from the government. Instead, we discussed aspects of the text. I am not sure that we are making progress on this issue, but in any case, we must do it. No one denies that animals suffer during slaughter.”

EU member-states that wish to ban ritual slaughter have the backing of the European Court of Justice, which ruled last December that such bans were legal and stated that while they may limit the rights of groups like Muslims and Jews, they meet an “objective of general interest recognised by the European Union, namely the promotion of animal welfare”.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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