AS A lifelong vegetarian, I applaud the efforts of the Dutch government to ban ritual slaughter, as this move represents a glimmer of decency in the murky and morally bankrupt world of meat production.

However, it seems that Jews and Muslims have suddenly found a common fraternal bond in opposing this move to deprive them of their ‘right’ to slaughter animals without pre-stunning.

The scientific consensus is overwhelmingly of the opinion that, under optimum practice, ritual slaughter involves more cruelty.

Furthermore, the duality in the law means that there are no prosecutions whatsoever of ordinary slaughterhouses since the state can hardly prosecute, when, up the road in a ritual slaughterhouse, similar suffering is occurring on a legal basis.

Of course, cruelty is endemic in the meat industry as a whole, but what little legal protection these miserable creatures receive is worthless, since those involved effectively have carte blanche to perpetrate any cruelty they please.

Regarding kosher slaughter, most people are unaware of the fact that about two thirds of the carcass (the entire rear quarters) is regarded as non-kosher and is disposed of by selling it unlabelled to the general public.

So even if labelling were a statutory requirement, this meat would not be labelled as kosher.

Without this subterfuge, the kosher industry would not be economically viable and would collapse.

Although this wastage in animals’ lives is not part of halal slaughter, the halal industry has jumped on this extremely lucrative bandwagon and is producing far more meat than would be needed purely for Muslims.

It seems that, here in the UK at least, the rights of non-Jews and non-Muslims to avoid such products is of no consequence whatever to our political representatives.

PETER LANGLEY, Windmill Road, Headington, Oxford