In both the kosher and Halal methods of slaughter, a quick single cut of a main artery is administered. Sephardim Jews, who began settling in the Netherlands in large numbers in the sixteenth century, most of them attracted to the relatively tolerant environment in Netherlands, follow the kashrut dietary laws, which prescribe the standards for what is kosher and non-kohser food (the word "kosher" is derived from Hebrew word meaning "fit" or "clean"; and non-kosher food is termed "treif")
Most of the laws of kosher are contained int the Books of Leviticus and Deutoronomy, with further elaboration of details contained in the oral law handed down by word of mouth across generations of the Jewish people, before being finally written down in the Mishnah.
Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi in Britain, commenting on the proposed ban on Kosher slaughter said:
If pre-stunning were made compulsory under Dutch law, Jews would be unable to practice a central element of Jewish life which has been continuously practiced for over 3,000 years.
The Dutch Labor Party, anxious to maintain ties with both Jewish communities and the Party for Animals, has been working on a legislation that will effect a compromise between opposing parties. A compromise was finally suggested in the Dutch legislature on June 22, which provided for a religious exemption. But in the legislation, the burden of proof that any slaughter in question is for religious purpose and that the procedure prescribed by religious law being adhered to does not cause undue suffering to the animal is with the religious community.
Members of the Jewish community in the Netherlands, a population of about 50 000, are unhappy with the new legislation because, in the law of shechitah, or law of ritual slaughter, the animal may not be stunned before slaughter, thus, proving that the shechitah procedure does not cause undue suffering may be difficult. Ronnie Eisemann, a member of the Amsterdam Jewish community said,
This is a crazy way of making laws — that we have to go and prove what we have long believed. I think this has just opened the door to more discussion and uncertainty.
While a final vote is still needed to bring the new regulation into effect, Jews remain concerned that if the schechitah procedure for killing animals is banned in the Netherlands, meat would be available to pious Jews, who insist only on kosher, by importation from neighboring countries.
A complete list of kosher foods is provided in the book of Leviticus 11:1-47. Birds of prey, fish eating water-birds, bats, flying and creeping animals, are all non-kosher. Kosher foods include all animals that chew the cud and are cloven hoofed. The Jewish laws also prohibit the mixture of meat and milk.
Adhering to the law of Kosher could involve elaborate procedures for pious Jews who insist on keeping the law to the last letter. Kashrut dietary laws prohibit the eating of blood because, according to Jewish law, the "life of an animal is in its blood." The prohibition on consuming blood has produced some difficulties for exacting Jews concerned with observing the kosher regulations. What of the blood within the meat after the blood on the surface has been cleaned off? To offset these problem, the technique of melilah was developed. In this technique, the meat is soaked in water for about an hour after which it is placed on an inclined board and covered with sat and left for about an hour, allowing the salt to extract the blood by osmosis from within the meat. Organ meats (heart, lungs,and liver) which have a higher concentration of blood are typically treated by roasting, though some Jewish authorities prescribe that organ meats should not be eaten at all.
A ban on the kosher slaughter procedure had previously been imposed in the New Zealand but it was partially lifted last November.