Ed West Ed West

Denmark’s ban on ritual slaughter is not kosher

Fey metropolitan ponce that am I, I love nothing better than curling up on the sofa with my partner to watch a Scandinavian drama. Borgen, The Killing; we haven’t got around to watching The Bridge, but only because I’m so busy walking around with a baby in a Kari-me or actually lactating milk, so European and progressive am I.

Part of the fun of these Scandi dramas is that the assumed leftism is so ingrained as to be almost comedic; each episode of Borgen features the statsminister having some moral dilemma because her coalition can’t sell hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of windpower to a former Soviet state because of its human rights record (in real life of course former Soviet states are keen users of expensive Scandinavian green energy rather than the lakes of cheap oil near them). It normally ends with her principles compromised because of the powers that be, whether financial, military or politics (not because the ideas don’t work in practice).

So just as the British Left sees Scandinavia as a sort of mystical liberal paradise in which social inequality and sexism have been eliminated, I obviously have an insatiable appetite for any stories which show them to be crushed by debt, warped by their weird sexual politics, riddled with crime or learning the lesson that you can have equality or diversity but not both.

But the latest news from Denmark is just depressing, the country having banned kosher and halal slaughter because ‘animal rights trump religious freedom’. What a strange and perverted set of priorities to have. The argument over ethics is hypocritical to start with, since a great deal of non-religious slaughter is equally bad if not worse, and there are ways of regulating kosher and halal to make it less cruel.

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