CJEU: Organic roducts from animals that have been the subject of ritual slaughter

21 Sep 2018 11:28 AM

Advocate General Wahl proposes that the Court find that products from animals that have been the subject of ritual slaughter without prior stunning can be issued the European ‘organic farming’ label.

In 2012, the French association Œuvre d’Assistance aux bêtes d’abattoirs (‘OABA’) submitted to the Ministre de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation (French Minister for Agriculture and Food) a request for a ban on the use of the indication ‘organic farming’ in the advertising and marketing of minced beef patties certified ‘halal’ from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning. The certification body concerned, Ecocert, implicitly refused the request, and the court with jurisdiction to annul the refusal dismissed OABA’s application. The Cour administrative d’appel de Versailles (Administrative Court of Appeal, Versailles, France), hearing the appeal, asks the Court whether the applicable rules of EU law deriving from, inter alia, the Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, its Implementing Regulation  and the Regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing 3 must be interpreted as permitting or prohibiting approval of the use of the European label ‘organic farming’ in relation to products derived from animals which have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rites without being stunned.

In today’s Opinion, Advocate General Nils Wahl dismisses at the outset any question of interference with the freedom of worship that might be posed by the impossibility of combining the certification ‘organic farming’ with the indication ‘halal’. He takes the view that the possibility of eating products bearing those two certifications does not, as such, relate to the practice of a ‘religious rite’. The inability to obtain meat labelled ‘organic farming’ from slaughterhouses that do not practise stunning does not affect the religious prescriptions, which do not require the consumption solely of products of organic farming. He goes on to note that there is no ‘right’ of access to products bearing an ‘organic farming’ label.

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