Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland ban ritual slaughter. Swiss animal rights groups and far-right politicians have called for a ban on imported halal and kosher meat.
Of the 500 million animals slaughtered annually for food in the Netherlands, only 1.2 million animals are slaughtered according to Muslim or Jewish traditions, Dutch statistics show.
Rabbi Moshe Stiefel, rabbi of thecentral Dutch province of Flevoland, said after the vote: "We are absolutely disappointed. It's very unfortunate that the Dutch Governement doesn't respect freedom of religion, and it's not just the fact that we can't have kosher slaughtering in this country, it goes deeper than that. Our freedom of religion isn't being respected in the Netherlands. Where could this lead to in the future?"
"Theoretically speaking the law could still be blocked, since it still has to be passed by the upper house of parliament. Of course we hope this happens. If this law is passed it won't leave us any rooom for kosher slaughtering in the future."
In France, home to Europe's largest Jewish minority, Richard Prasquier, head of the CRIF umbrella group of Jewish organisations, said Jewish ritual slaughter rules were "set up in such a way as to reduce the animal's suffering to a minimum, with slaughtering done by professionals with years of experience. In this sense the Jewish community has largely anticipated the aims and desires of all the organisations seeking to reduce the suffering of animals."
"It's important to understand that if that possibility is not left open, observant Jews will no longer be able to live out their Judaism normally within their country and will have to find somewhere else to live," he told Reuters. "This is not an adaptation that can be resolved by a sort of consensus among rabbis. It is part of very ancient
traditions which rabbis can only pass along. There is no adaptation possible. We should not be worrying only about ritual slaughtering when animal suffering exists in many other areas, from hunting to bull-fighting to intensive livestock farming."