France on Thursday clarified that it upholds religious rites and has not issued any ban concerning the slaughter of poultry animals in line with Islamic principles.

France’s position on the 2009 European regulation to waive the obligation of prior stunning of animals in the event of ritual slaughter, “remains unchanged,” the Agriculture and Food Ministry said in a press statement.

The controversy on the ban on halal slaughtering rites came to light after the authorities of three major mosques in Paris, Lyon and Evry on March 18 issued a joint statement, expressing concern for the French-Muslim community ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

A ministerial instruction dated Nov. 23, 2020 could lead to the ban on the slaughter of poultry according to the halal ritual, as of July 2021, they said.

The response from the senior Muslim leaders sparked a flurry of social media posts and misinformed claims.

The ministry said the new circular clarifies control methods applicable to all types of poultry slaughter and stunning methods, without modifying the existing rules in practice nationally. It does not call into question the possibility of practicing ritual slaughter, it said.

Jewish kosher and Islamic halal rites involve slaughtering animals or poultry by swiftly slitting their throat, as against the EU directive requiring prior stunning of the animal.

Slaughter operators who wish to derogate from the stunning obligations for religious purposes are permitted to do so by French regional authorities.

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