Abstract : The production and consumption of halal meat products, i.e. deriving from Islamic ritual slaughter, has have grown steadily over the last 15 years. Today the global halal market is estimated at US $150 billion per year. In this paper, I describe the main steps in the integration of ‘“Muslim ritual slaughter” ' into the national legislation of Western European countries, and I present an analysis of the economic and political issues involved. Once the subject of dispute between animal welfare organisations and religious groups, the arguments surrounding slaughter ritual have, more recently, particularly in the aftermath of the BSE crisis, evolved to become an issue of consumer rights. In order tTo illustrate this evolution, I examine two specific cases: Switzerland, as a European country, and the UK as a member member-state of the European Union.