OU Kosher, the world’s largest kosher food certification agency, last week condemned the European Court of Justice’s affirmation of a Belgian law requiring stunning an animal prior to its slaughter, which effectively serves as a ban on ritual animal slaughter for kosher and halal food.

“The decision of the Court is an affront to Jews and Muslims who have relied on ritual slaughter for food for centuries. Jewish law outlines very specific steps and requires significant training for sh’chitah that puts the welfare of the animal of paramount importance and minimizes its suffering,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher.

“Placing a ban on religious slaughtering of animals was one of the first acts of persecution against the Jews of Germany in 1933. We call upon European leaders – so committed to never again going down that horrific road – to uphold the principle of religious freedom in Europe and immediately take steps to repudiate and correct this action by the ECJ before it deals a heavy blow to our fellow Jews on the continent,” he added.

Rabbi Genack suggested European leaders use the exemption for ritual humane slaughter passed by the US Congress in 1958 that allows people of all religions to live within the bounds of their dietary needs based on the tenets of their faith and found that kosher slaughter is indeed humane.