The new law was implemented on Monday (17 February) and follows years of animal welfare campaigns against the method of slaughter, in which the animal is not given anaesthetics before slaughter.
The minister for agriculture and food Dan Jørgensen has been fighting the case for better welfare to the growing pig population of Denmark and told Danish newspapers: “To my knowledge, no one has practised non-stun slaughter in Denmark for many years.”
He stated that the implementation of the new law is due to an occasional demand for non-stun slaughter. “I want to be absolutely sure that it’s not going to happen in Denmark,” said Jørgensen.
However, the move has been criticised by several religious groups including Danish Halal and the Jewish Society of Denmark who claim it violates religious freedom.
Danish Halal is currently carrying out a petition against the new legislation, which has reached 20,000 signatures and will be presented to Jørgensen in a meeting tomorrow (21 February).
In a statement, Danish Halal said: “The new order is a clear violation of religious freedom and limits the Muslims’ and the Jews’ right to practise their religion in Denmark.
“It is a procedure that is done under the guise of animal welfare, despite the fact that many scientific studies show the animal suffers less with properly performed ritual slaughter than when it gets a blow to the head with a nail gun.”
European law prohibits non-stun slaughter, but can make exceptions for Jewish and Muslim methods of slaughter. However, countries including Sweden, Poland, Switzerland and Norway already ban non-stun slaughter.