THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams has written to
the Danish Ambassador in London expressing his "profound concern"
at the Danish government's recent ban on the practice of Jewish and
Muslim ritual slaughter of animals.
The ban means that kosher and halal meat will have to be
Lord Williams, now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge,
expressed his support for the enshrining in law of humane treatment
of animals. He is said tobe concerned, however, that the Danish ban
might by seen by both minority-ethnic communities as hostile, and
lead Denmark to risk being accused of being anti-Semitic and
The right of freedom of religion and religious expression is
something enshrined in European law, and it is crucial that Jewish
and Muslim communities do not feel themselves further threatened or
marginalised in Europe, he said.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd David Walker, is also
understood to have made representations about the ban, which came
into force this month, as have the Christian Muslim Forum and the
Council of Christians and Jews.
Under European regulations, animals are required to be stunned
before slaughter unless an exemption can be found on religious
grounds. But for meat to be kosher under Jewish law or halal under
Islamic law, the animal must be conscious when killed.
Lord Williams's former adviser on interfaith matters, Canon Guy
Wilkinson, said that he was also writing to the Danish ambassador
to challenge the statement by the Danish agriculture minister Dan
Joergensen that "animal rights come before religion." He said that
strong representations were also being made to the European