It isn’t all that often that Jews and Muslims find common ground on thorny political issues, but they have done so this week in Denmark, where they are jointly protesting a new law banning the slaughter of animals for the production of halal and kosher meat. Both groups take issue with the government’s assertion that “animal rights come before religion,” viewing it instead as a pretext for religious intolerance and discrimination.Perhaps their case is slightly overstated. The Jewish Daily Forward commented in response to the ban that “European anti-Semitism is showing its true colours across Europe, and is even intensifying in the government institutions.” And Danish Halal, which launched a petition against the ban, said it was “a clear interference in religious freedom limiting the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion in Denmark.” As the Economist has pointed out, “There are no slaughterhouses which use the ritual method in Denmark, because there is not enough local demand to keep such a facility going; people who want to eat ritually slaughtered meat simply import the product, and they face no obstacle.”But if it is such a non-issue, why was the ban passed in the first place? Why has it proved so popular among the Danish public? And what of this claim that animal rights trump religious rights, when almost all farmed animals are kept in cruel conditions? Whatever the merits of this particular case, it has sparked a larger, legitimate debate within the EU about where national self-determination ends and religious intolerance begins. We wrote about a similar case a couple of years ago, when German lawmakers first banned, then unbanned the traditional form of Jewish circumcision (without anaesthetics).In the wake of Switzerland’s twofold precedent —its ban of minarets in 2009 and its recent cap on immigration—it is likely that populist parties across Europe will pitch similar proposals to their electorates. Trivial though the issue in Denmark may seem, it could set an important precedent for how Europe reconciles conflicting values.