Religious slaughter: A spectacular win for animals in Greece
29 October 2021
Hellenic Animal Welfare Federation
The Hellenic Council of State (Supreme Administrative Court of Greece) annulled a 2017 ministerial decision which, in the context of religious slaughter, allowed the slaughter of animals without prior stunning. The Court ruled that the Greek state omitted to aim for a balance between its obligation to protect animals and that to respect religious freedom.
The Court rejected the claims of the Greek State that it was bound by Regulation (EC)1099/2009 to allow slaughter without prior stunning, accepting instead the arguments put forward by Animal Protection associations and meanwhile confirmed by the European Court of Justice.
This confirms that the Regulation itself does not make the compromise between animal welfare and freedom of religion, but merely sets the framework for the necessary compromise between the two principles, providing member states with the possibility to regulate religious slaughter and maintain national rules or adopt new rules to ensure wider protection of animals, taking into account the evolution of values and perceptions in their society.