EU Court Rules Against Labeling Kosher and Halal Meat Organic

Organic regulations require animals to be stunned before being killed. Jewish and Muslim laws, in contrast, require the animals to be conscious when slaughtered

File Photo: Kosher salmon filets sit on display inside a Costco store in New York, U.S., November 11, 2009.
Bloomberg

Halal and kosher meat cannot be marketed as organic because the methods used to produce it are not animal friendly enough, the European Union’s top court ruled.

Tuesday’s ruling by the EU Court of Justice is primarily a symbolic victory for opponents of the production of halal and kosher meat because those products are very rarely marketed also as being organic.

The ruling was on a lawsuit from 2012 by a French animal welfare association that argued that halal beef shouldn’t be allowed to be sold with the EU logo for organic food, the Associated Press reported.

The court said that halal and kosher meat cannot be considered organic because animals used to produce it are not stunned before they are killed. Stunning significantly reduces animal suffering, the court said.

Jewish and Muslim religious laws require animals be conscious when their necks are cut. Muslim communities are generally more flexible on this point in Europe as the production of halal meat contains fewer restrictions than that of kosher meat.

Opponents of the slaughter without stunning of animals say it is cruel, though advocates of the custom say that, when performed meticulously, it is swift and no less humane than other methods applied in the industrialized slaughter of animals for meat.

Efforts to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning have picked up dramatically in recent years, amid the arrival to Europe of millions of Muslim immigrants and tensions over failures in the integration of the millions who came in recent decades.