Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign AffairsCommittee, applauded the decision by the Dutch parliament to drop consideration of proposed legislation that would prohibit ritual slaughter. Earlier this week, Rep. Berman joined Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus co-Chairmen Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), and 7 other House Members in sending a letter to the President of the Dutch Senate expressing their deep concern over the draft legislation. In the letter they objected to the ban on ritual slaughter, which would have been a grave intrusion on the religious freedom of nearly one million Muslims and 50,000Jews in the Netherlands.
"I am pleased that cooler heads have prevailed and legislation prohibiting ritualslaughter was withdrawn from consideration in the Dutch Senate," said Rep. Berman. "The decision adequately balances the religious needs of Dutch Jews and Muslims with the concerns of animal rights advocates. It shows that shechita and humane slaughter are not mutually exclusive."