The European Union’s highest court has declared that meat from animals not stunned before slaughter cannot be labeled organic—which rules out kosher and some halal meat.
The EU Court of Justice ruled March 12 that if animals are not rendered unconscious before they are slaughtered, products derived from them cannot bear the EU’s organic logo. The organic designation certifies standards of humane animal treatment, which are not followed when a conscious animal is slaughtered, the court ruled.
Kosher standards forbid stunning an animal before slaughter. Kosher advocates argue that, with skilled practitioners, kosher slaughter is as humane as standard practice. A minority of halal meat animals are not stunned before slaughter, but this is not a requirement.
The EU court was responding to a lawsuit brought by a French animal welfare group. EU members Denmark and Belgium have banned ritual slaughter, in a move supported by both animal welfare advocates and nativist groups.