A proposed ban on halal and kosher meats has come into effect in Belgium's northern Flanders region, stirring controversy among the country's Jewish and Muslim communities.
The parliament in the Flemish region had unanimously voted in June 2017 to ban kosher and halal meats by outlawing the slaughter of animals without stunning, which was set to become effective beginning with Jan. 1 2019, following a similar ruling in Wallonia region in May 2017 that will go into effect in August 2019.
According to Islamic halal and Jewish kosher rituals, the animals are required to be butchered by slitting their throats without stunning them before killing.
The non-Christian communities see the ruling as a threat against religions as well as a risk for their lives.
The decision of the parliament will be initially implemented for small cattle and although it will not be implemented for bovines due to the lack of technical infrastructure, it will be mandatory to numb the cattle immediately after slaughter.
Cows and other cattle will also be shocked before being slaughtered after the Flemish region overcomes technical issues regarding the matter.