Belgium is home to 500,000 Muslims and more than 30,000 Jews, who say the ban could lead to higher prices and food shortages.
Ritual animal slaughter has been banned in part of Belgium despite outcry from leaders in the Jewish and Muslim communities.
The northern Flanders region finally imposed the law on New Year’s Day after passing the measure back in July 2017, having faced significant objections.
Some have claimed that the ban amounts to nothing more than antisemitism and Islamophobia, but animal rights campaigners have long asserted that the Jewish kosher and Muslim halal rituals are inhumane.
Islam and Judaism both preach that animals should be in perfect health when they are slaughtered and halal and kosher methods see them killed with a single slash to the neck.
In Flanders, animals now have to be stunned electronically before they are killed – a law that will also be introduced in the southern French-speaking Wallonia region in September.
Once imposed there, the Brussels region – which has a large Muslim population – will be the only part of the country to still allow ritual slaughter methods to be used.
Belgium is home to about 500,000 Muslims and more than 30,000 Jews, who are worried that the ban will lead to higher prices and possible food shortages.
Muslim leader Saatci Bayram told The New York Times: “The government asked for our advice on the ban, we responded negatively, but the advice wasn’t taken.
“This ban is presented as a revelation by animal rights activists, but the debate on animal welfare in Islam has been going on for 1,500 years. Our way of ritual slaughtering is painless.”
Yaakov David Schmahl, a senior rabbi in Antwerp, told the paper: “It definitely brings to mind similar situations before the Second World War, when these laws were introduced in Germany.”
The ban comes four years after right-wing Belgian nationalist Ben Weyts was appointed as the minister responsible for animal welfare in Flanders.
He first proposed the ban upon taking his role and hailed its parliamentary approval at the time, tweeting: “Proud animal minister. Proud to be Flemish.”
On Monday he retweeted a post by Paul Joseph Watson, the British editor-at-large of controversial American alt-right website infowars.com, calling for the ban to be imposed “in every European country”.
While there are already regulations in place across Europe that require animals be rendered insensitive to pain before being killed, exceptions are made in many countries to accommodate religious beliefs.
Kebab shops in the UK serve halal meat, as do fast food outlets like Nando’s and Subway.
UK government rules state that halal and kosher killings must take place in a Food Standards Agency-approved slaughterhouse, must be intended for consumption and can only be carried out by Jews or Muslims.