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Belgium’s Flanders Region Plans To Limit Kosher Slaughter

(JTA) — A cabinet minister in Belgium’s Flemish Region announced that a majority of lawmakers have decided to impose new limitations on ritual slaughter of animals in 2019.

Ben Weyts, the animal welfare minister of the Flemish Region — one of three autonomous states that make up the federal kingdom of Belgium – on Thursday told the Gazet van Antwerp daily that “the decision in principle has been taken and everyone should respect it.”

He was commenting on criticism by some Jews and Muslims in Belgium over his announcement Wednesday in the Flemish parliament that new limitations on the slaughter of animals without stunning would be introduced on January 1, 2019.

Neither the elected representatives of the Jewish community of the Flemish Region nor of those of Belgium have expressed consent to the plan to impose new limitations, which Weyts described as a “compromise” and “historical agreement.”

The precise nature of the new limitations proposed by the Flemish government is not yet been made publically known and has not been finalized pending talks with representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities, according to the Gazet van Antwerpen. Pinchas Kornfeld, an influential rabbi from Antwerp who acts as spokesperson for the region’s communities and it chairman of the European Shechitah Board, would not comment on the details of the proposed limitations, the Joods Actueel Jewish paper reported.

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