Nouveaux enjeux autour de l'abattage rituel : une perspective européenne

Abstract : The production and consumption of halal products, i.e. those deriving from ritual slaughtering, has grown steadily over the last 15 years. Today the global halal market is estimated at US$ 150 billion per year. This paper describes the main steps in the integration of “Muslim ritual slaughtering” into the national legislative systems of Western European countries, and it analyses the economic and political issues
involved in this integration. Once being the subject of dispute between animal welfare organisations and religious groups, sometimes based on anti-semitism and racism, the arguments surrounding slaughtering ritual have recently, particularly in the aftermath
of the BSE crisis, evolved to become an issue of consumer rights.
In this paper, two cases will illustrate this evolution : Switzerland, as a European
country, and the UK as a member state of the European Union.
Muslim ritual slaughtering has never been precisely defined and has benefited from a
status of exception in most legislative systems by overriding animal welfare regulation.
One of the consequences of this exceptional status has been the growth of an un-regulated
market that does not give the consumer (Muslim as well as non Muslim) any assurance
regarding the process of production of halal products. Religious institutions seem
unable to handle an issue of this nature, that is more usually dealt with by better
equipped economic actors and consumer organisations. Facing this situation, the European
Union and member states now have two possible options. Either they abolish the
special status of ritual slaughtering and they rescind their commitments to take into
account specific religious requirements, or they apply a “farm to fork” approach to food
for religious purposes that is similar, in terms of traceability and labelling, to those
that apply to foods posing ethical issues.
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Florence Bergeaud-Blackler. Nouveaux enjeux autour de l'abattage rituel : une perspective européenne. Cahiers d'Economie et de Sociologie Rurales, INRA Editions, 2004, pp.5-33. ⟨halshs-00007179⟩

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