AMSTERDAM (AP) - The Netherlands' parliament has passed a bill banning any slaughter of livestock without stunning, removing an exemption that has long allowed orthodox Dutch Jews and Muslims to butcher animals according to their centuries-old dietary rules.
However, the bill must still pass the senate and the government says it may be unenforceable in its current form.
The threat of a ban led to outcry from Jewish and Muslim groups who say it infringes on their right to freedom of religion. They argue ritual slaughter - done by swiftly cutting animals' throats with a razor-sharp knife - is no worse than stunning.
The bill passed Tuesday with support on the political left, which sees ritual slaughter as inhumane, and on the right, which sees it as foreign and barbaric.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)