Factsheet: Ritual Slaughter Restrictions in Europe

Click here for the Ritual Slaughter Restrictions in Europe Factsheet.


This factsheet shows the spectrum of restrictions on ritual slaughter in Europe, and provides information on the impact that such regulations have on religious freedom in select countries. Pursuant to international human rights law, religious freedom extends to the observance and practice of religion or beliefs, including dietary regulations. European Union laws and regulations require stunning before slaughter to protect this right, but countries are authorized to make their own regulations concerning “slaughtering in accordance with religious rituals.” While a majority of European countries either have no restrictions on ritual slaughter or offer exemptions to religious groups whose dietary laws mandate that animals are uninjured (unstunned) prior to killing, nearly a third of European countries limit the practice, causing individuals to abandon deeply held religious practices and imply a message of exclusion to all those who seek to follow their religion’s dietary laws.