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April 19, 2022 2:23 pm
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Victory for French Far-Right Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen Will Mean Ban on Kosher, Halal Slaughter, Party Leader Says

avatar by Ben Cohen

French far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on the campaign trail near the city of Marseille. Photo: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Marine Le Pen, the far right candidate facing off against incumbent Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday, will ban the ritual slaughter rites sacred to both the Jewish and Muslim communities should she win, her party said on Tuesday.

In an interview with broadcaster France Info, Jordan Bardella — the president of Le Pen’s party, the National Rally (RN) — said that the killing of animals for kosher and halal consumption would no longer be tolerated in France in the event of a Le Pen victory.

“The meat slaughtered on French territory will require prior stunning in the name of animal dignity,” Bardella said. However, he added that Jews and Muslims would be permitted to import kosher and halal meat nonetheless. Under the strict laws governing kashrut, pre-stunning is forbidden, as an animal must be healthy and uninjured at the exact time it is slaughtered.

While several European countries either restrict or ban ritual slaughter outright, such a measure in France would have a much greater impact as the country is home to the largest Jewish and Muslim communities on the continent. Macron remains resolutely opposed to such a ban.

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In October last year, higher courts in Belgium and Greece upheld the legality of bans on ritual slaughter. The practice is banned entirely in Slovenia, while pre-stunning is required in Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

In the same interview, Bardella clarified that while a far-right government under Le Pen would ban ritual slaughter, hunting and bullfighting — activities that have long attracted the concern of animal welfare activists — would remain legal.

“There are certain traditions which are cultural traditions, which have been French traditions, European traditions for many years,” Bardella said of the discrepancy.

A Le Pen victory on Sunday would transform French politics and likely cause a crisis within the European Union (EU), not least because of her admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin and her desire to align France with Russia in world politics.

Polling on Tuesday showed that Macron had slightly widened his lead over Le Pen, whom he trounced in the second round of the last presidential election in 2017. An Ipsos poll projected Macron winning 56.5 percent of the vote, up half a point from last Friday and 3.5 percent from April 8, two days before the first round vote in which Macron and Le Pen beat multiple candidates to qualify for the second round.

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