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France

  • 15 July 2013 : State Council decision on ritual slaughter

Article R. 241-70 of the Rural and Maritime Fishing Code allows for an exception to the obligation to stun animals prior to their slaughter or to being put down, should it be incompatible with the practice of ritual slaughter. An association providing assistance to animals in slaughterhouses (Oeuvre d’assistance aux bêtes d’abattoir) had lodged an appeal against the Prime Minister’s refusal to repeal these provisions.

In its decision of 5 July 2013, the Council of State ruled that the provision allowing for the possibility of derogating from the obligation of prior stunning for practising ritual slaughter, which was enacted with the aim of reconciling the objectives of public health policy and equal respect for beliefs and religious traditions, did not violate the principle of secularity. It recalled that the principle of secularity imposes not only equality of all citizens before the law without distinction to religion and with respect for all beliefs, but also that the French Republic guarantees the free exercise of worship.

For further information :
- CE, 5 July 2013, no. 361441, Oeuvre d’assistance aux bêtes d’abattoir

Françoise Curtit