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Slaughtering Without Pre-Stunning and EU Law on Animal Welfare:

The Particular Case of Organic Production

Micaela Lottini, Michele Giannino

In OABA v MAA the CJEU ruled that the EU organic production logo cannot be affixed to meat products derived from animals slaughtered without first being stunned in accordance with religious prescriptions. This article places the judgment within the context of the EU emerging policy on animal welfare. It starts by outlining this policy, one of the chief achievements of which, is the general rule that animals must be stunned before being slaughtered. This rule is then contrasted with the exception provided for by EU secondary legislation and grounded on Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that allows the slaughtering of animals without prior stunning where it is so required by religious rites. The interaction between these two provisions may be remarkably tense with regard to ‘halal’ or ‘kosher’ products. The article examines how this issue has been dealt with by the CJEU, with a particular focus on OABA v MAA. Arguably, the rulings that the EU organic logo cannot be legitimately used for products processed from animals killed with ritual slaughtering methods and that the exception for the ritual slaughtering must be strictly interpreted are a welcome step towards a stronger EU animal welfare policy. The judgment also sends the clear message that animal welfare cannot be sacrificed on the altar of mere economic interests.

Dr Micaela Lottini is Professor of Administrative Law and State and Market in EU law, at the Law Department of the University of Rome ‘Roma Tre’. Dr Michele Giannino, LLM (Leicester) PhD (Lond) Dip (ITM) is an Italian qualified lawyer. Dr Lottini authored paragraphs I - III and conclusions; Dr Giannino authored paragraphs IV - V.


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