The Dutch Halal Butcher Crackdown

Erik Voeten offers a tale of cynicism from Dutch politics, as animal welfare is used as a kind of cloak for anti-Muslim policies:

The Netherlands has a small Party for the Animals let by the charismatic Marianne Thieme. This party introduced a bill to ban slaughter without first sedating the animals. Aside from the one Dutch kosher butcher, this new law only affects Muslims (halal prohibits sedation). The governing VVD lets few opportunities go by to show that it is just as tough as Geert Wilders’ PVV on Muslim immigrants, so it set aside its liberal (in the European sense) principles and supports the initiative (as do all main Dutch parties, except for the Christian-Democrats on ground of religious freedom). Presumably there are much greater issues of animal cruelty that parliament could legislate on but conveniently they picked the one that mostly affects Muslims.


Something that’s definitely nice about the United States is that, though our political culture is hardly unaffected by bigotry or oft-violent nationalism, I’m pretty confident this would never fly here. The equivalent version of the opposition from Christian Democrats on ground of religious freedom would be much more robust, and secular Americans who couldn’t care less about the details of halal butchery still have an appropriate conception of ourselves as a potentially oppressed minority.