The Dutch say no to kosher

It’s weird how the word kosher, which typically means “proper” or “legitimate”, has become such an important part of our vernacular. It’s especially weird that the concept of kosher is really a series of arbitrary rules that make little to no sense. For instance, according to Leviticus, animals that have cloved hooves and chew cud are clean, but animals that have only one of these qualities are not. Jews also have a prohibition against consuming blood, which is about as impossible as you can get when eating meat.

The Dutch aren’t particularly fond of the ritualized slaughtering process either. Kosher forbids the animal from being unconscious when it gets slaughtered, which means that the suffering is much greater. The government has decided to take action and ban the practice. Cue the outrage!

For Mr. Rosenzweig, it is the latest sign of rising religious intolerance in a country where broad-mindedness has been a defining value since the 17th century.

“The country has changed. They’re not friendly any more to any religious needs people may have,” says Mr. Rosenzweig.

If your idea of a religious need just happens to be a set of arbitrary rules on how to kill animals, I’ve got some bad news for you. It looks like you might actually have to buy your food like everyone else. Oh, the horror!

As for the percieved intolerance, it’s less directed at Jews and more about the needless suffering of animals. Yes, we’re gigantic pussies now, but that’s a good thing: we’re no longer interested in causing the unecessary suffering of our food. It almost feels progressive. Of course, that’s not the way everyone sees it.

There’s some serious debate on the science of the kindest way to kill an animal (Rosenzweig assures everyone that his knife is so sharp, they barely feel a thing), but it sounds to me like the Dutch have just about reached their tolerance limit. Perhaps it has something to do with the failure of religious minorities to properly integrate themselves into society. While I admit to being against laws that take away the rights of individuals, the slaughter of an animal is not a real concern of mine. If some religious rubes are upset that they can’t eat some ritualized consumables, I’m not really going to lose much sleep over this.

To be fair, there is a point when all of this can go too far. I’ve made a few “slippery slope” statements I’ve come to regret in the past, many of which seem embarrassing in hindsight, and I don’t want to use this line of argument here. Perhaps this is a masked attempt to make religious minorities feel less welcome. That is a strong possibility. But the Dutch are well within their rights to decide how they want animals to be killed for consumption.

In some ways the conflict has brought Jews and Muslims together; the Amsterdam Jewish-Moroccan Council has carried out protests against the new law, with imams and rabbis marching together. Kosher slaughter experts have attended Mr. Altuntas’s conferences to advise halal slaughterers on how to bring standardization to their system.

“I understand that the emotions run high,” says Ms. Thieme, “because you think that your religious community has been doing things the best possible way for thousands of years, and it’s painful to be confronted with scientific facts that show otherwise.”

Yeah, religions usually don’t have the greatest relationship with science, especially when it contradicts their bullshit. Welcome to the fucking 21st century, guys!

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Comments (2)

  • avatar

    WCLPeter

    “(Rosenzweig assures everyone that his knife is so sharp, they barely feel a thing)”

    Hey Rosenzweig, wanna know what’s sharper than your knife? A Doctor’s scalpel!

    I’m sure you’ll be totally okay having open heart surgery without any kinds of anaesthetics or pain medications ’cause if your conscious animals who are being butchered alive can’t barely feel anything with *your* sharp knife then you shouldn’t feel *anything* with the doctor’s way sharper scalpel!

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention Jacob. I, like I assume most atheists, had assumed that Kosher / Halal just meant someone prayed over the slaughtered animal and never for once thought the animals were slaughtered while still conscious!

  • avatar

    BumbleBee

    I don’t think this is antisemitism.
    I know a lot of Jews, but most of them don’t keep kosher this strictly (including a lot of religious Jews). Most people who say they “keep kosher” mean that they avoid pork and shellfish, and that they don’t eat meat and dairy in the same meal. I don’t think this is something which will affect the Jewish population as a whole, most of whom are perfectly fine using eating at non kosher restaurants, using the same utensils for meat and dairy, etc. All together, I can think of very few people who insist on kosher-slaughtered meat, and I think these people are ass-backwards.

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