Flanders bans ritual slaughter outside recognised abattoirs

Flemish animal welfare minister Ben Weyts has announced a ban on the ritual slaughter of unsedated animals at temporary abattoirs. In future the animals can only be killed in recognised abattoirs.

The unsedated slaughter of animals is allowed on religious grounds, but will in future only be tolerated at recognised abattoirs. It's chiefly Muslims who make use of the exemption to mark the festival of Aid el Kebir: unsedated sheep are killed and their meat is shared with relatives, friends and the poor.

Temporary abattoirs were established to cope with excess demand, but Mr Weyts hopes that Muslims wishing to have an unseated sheep killed have now had time enough to make other arrangements.

Police and animal welfare officers have the job of enforcing the new ban and of acting against people slaughtering sheep in their homes.