The Dutch parliament on Tuesday voted to ban animal slaughter for religious rituals, a move opposed by Jewish and Islamic groups in the country. The bill, submitted by the Party for the Animals, the first such group to win parliament seats in Europe, was passed with a majority of 116 members in the House of Commons voting for and 30 members voting against. It still needs to be approved by the senate and signed by the government before formally taking into effect. According to the Party for the Animals, religious ritual slaughter methods inflict unacceptable suffering on animals. But their proposal for the ban has met with strong opposition from Jewish and Islamic groups which considered the ban as a restriction on freedom of religion, causing a fierce and emotional debate in the Netherlands in recent months. The bill said religious groups could currently continue ritual slaughter if they proved it was no more painful than stunning, but there are no alternative methods of slaughter which meet this requirement. European Union regulations require animals to be stunned before slaughter but allow exceptions for ritual slaughter. Sweden, Luxembourg and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland ban ritual slaughter.