European Court of Justice: slaughter without stunning is incompatible with the rules of organic farming (IT)


After the marketing in France in 2012 of "halal" minced beef steaks from animals slaughtered without being rendered insensitive and sold under the "organic farming" label, OABA (Ouevre d'Assistance au Bêtes d'Abattoir) addressed to the French Ministry of Agriculture, highlighting the fact that this slaughtering system is not compatible with the European Union rules on organic production.

The silence of the French Ministry of Agriculture led OABA to appeal before the administrative courts. Having had the appeal dismissed at first instance, OABA then appealed to the Versailles Administrative Court of Appeal. In a ruling issued on 6 July 2017, the last Court considered that the request made by the organization needed an interpretation of the European regulations and had submitted the matter to the Luxembourg Court.

The Court therefore had to answer this question: "Shall the rules of European Union law be interpreted as to authorize or prohibit the release of the" organic farming "European label to the meat of animals that have been the subject of ritual slaughter without previous stunning?"

In a ruling issued on 26 February 2019, the Court of Luxembourg has endorsed the position of the French association, supported at the hearing by Greece, Norway and the European Commission. The Court has emphasized that the Regulation (CE) n. 834/2007 does not authorize the killing of animals that have not been previously rendered insensitive, and it requires both "high standards of animal welfare" as one of the objectives of organic production, and "suffering minimized throughout the whole  life of the animal , even at the time of slaughter".

Veterinarian Jean-Pierre Kieffer, president of OABA, said: "This judgment reminds us that animal welfare is not just an element of marketing or ministerial language, but a legal concept protected by European legislation. For its part, the FNAB, Fédération Nationale d'Agriculture Biologique, rejoiced at the decision consistent with the rules and ethics of organic production that guide the practices of organic breeders. The FNAB national secretary in charge of animal welfare, Jean-François Vincent, said that: "By purchasing organic meat, consumers demand that animals enjoy the best conditions of breeding, transport and slaughter. This decision confirms that stunning is essential for reducing suffering of animals, it is mandatory when organic animals are slaughtered".

Source: FNAB