(February 13, 2019 / JNS) A college at Oxford University in England is considering a ban on kosher and halal meat from its dining hall.
The school’s student government, the Junior Common Room (JCR), passed a proposition that any slaughtered animals served should be stunned before being butchered.
Jewish law requires that an animal be healthy and not injured before kosher ritual slaughter, or shechita, and that rendering it immobile is prohibited; hence, the animal cannot be used.
Although the college said it would increase its kosher and halal choices, it is looking into the nonbinding JCR motion.
“We want all our students to feel comfortable and well looked-after, including at meal-times,” a college spokesperson told the BBC. “We are looking into expanding our provision of halal and kosher meat, and also providing more lactose-free, gluten-free and meat-free options, following a request by the JCR.”
The president of the university’s Jewish Society, Nicole Jacobus, told the outlet: “The very fact that this amendment was passed in a JCR meeting without a Jewish student being able to challenge it highlights the lack of diversity and awareness of other cultures amongst students in Oxford.”
“The vote to ban kosher food only makes the diversity issue worse, as it shows that Jewish students are not only poorly provided for, but that they cannot actively practice as Jews at Somerville,” she continued, referring to one of the constituent colleges at Oxford. “This reflects badly on the whole of the Oxford student community.”
A debate about kosher slaughter has spread throughout Europe.
In Belgium’s Flanders region, as of Jan. 1, kosher butchering is prohibited. A similar ban in the country’s Wallonia region will take effect in September.
Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Slovenia all ban religious slaughter without pre-stunning animals.
Excluding poultry, Lichtenstein and Switzerland also require pre-stunning.
Poland proposed legislation last year banning kosher slaughter until it was removed from the parliamentary agenda.