Ritual slaughter without stunning in France, whether for the Muslim or Jewish community, has been a subject of some very heated debate. Following continued pressure from animal rights associations, a ministerial decree was published on the 29th December introducing tighter supervision by the public authorities.
The new law stipulates that "as of the 1st July 2012, abattoirs practising this kind of slaughter will have to get prior authorisation from the Prefecture of the department in which they are located".
It goes on to specify that the authorisation will be granted to "abattoirs who can justify the presence of suitable equipment and trained personnel, of procedures guaranteeing a rate and a level of hygiene adapted to this slaughtering technique as well as a recording system that can verify that the use of the derogation corresponded to necessary commercial orders."
According to a study carried out in 274 abattoirs by the French Department of Agriculture in 2007, 12% of cattle, 13% of calves and 49% of lambs were ritually slaughtered.
The French Department of Agriculture has yet to publish the implementation notice as they are currently in discussion with the meat industry as to how the new measures can be applied with minimum disruptions. This would necessitate the main mosques in France reaching a common ground in terms of their specification requirements which poses difficulties given the likely financial implications.
However, the parties will have to reach a consensus in order to avoid disruptions within the trade.
Source: Bord Bia - Irish Food Board