On 1 January, slaughtering animals without first stunning them is to be banned in Belgium’s region of Flanders, impacting local production of halal and kosher meat. The regional parliament unanimously voted to outlaw the ritual practices that Islam and Judaism have long used in June 2017.
The Flemish ban follows a similar decision by the Walloon parliament, which took place in May 2017 and comes into force in August 2019.
This prompted fears among members of the local Jewish community. The head of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pinchas Goldschmidt, slammed the move as “a sad day for the Jews of Europe, a sad day for religious freedom in Europe”.