For this discussion, Brendan's joined by:

Mirja Holm - founder of the Organisation Against the Suffering of Animals, Denmark

Shimon Cohen - director, Shechita UK

Khawaja Masood - director, Halal Consultations

Ed West -  Catholic Herald deputy editor and blogger for the Spectator



MH: “Animal slaughter should be a purely practical procedure. There should always be a focus on minimising the stress and the pain of the individual animal. That said, this new law is only a technicality. For the past 10 years, animals have been stunned before being slaughtered. No-one has objected for the past ten years. Animal welfare and freedom of religion have been living side-by-side for ten years in Denmark, without any problems. It’s only now, when the government has turned the practice into law, that it suddenly has become an issue.”

SC:“This is a very troubling point because we’re constantly being told it’s about animal welfare. It can’t possibly have anything to do with animal welfare because there’s been no kosher slaughter in Denmark for 10 years. The slaughter conducted by the Muslim community is done by an acceptable and non-penetrative stunning method that is acceptable to certain Muslims. Not a single animal’s life is going to be improved by this. Yet tens of thousands of Jews and Muslims over Europe have been insulted by this, yet not a single animal’s life has been bettered.”

“It’s fascinating to know that the 200,000 Muslims you referred to in Denmark. There are 180,000 people in Denmark with hunting licences yet it seems for some strange reason that the Jewish and Muslim communities have been targeted in this rather odd way, and have been told rather publicly that their rights come second to the rights of animals.”

EW: “I don’t think this Danish campaign is motivated by anti-Semitism or hostility to Islam. Denmark has a very good record on human rights. It’s one of the most liberal countries in the world. But I think this is an example where it’s best to have a fudge and not to make something official. It’s the act of making it official that makes people nervous.”

It makes people nervous that their freedom of religion as a minority in a liberal society is fundamentally threatened, when something like this comes along. I think the issue of minority rights would trump it in that case.”

MJ: ”The insult has been thrown at people, over 25 million Muslims in the European Union alone. And then it would be heard outside the European countries as well to say that the Muslim law of slaughtering animals is not accepted there. It is anti-religious.”